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News > Russia

LIVE: Biden To Respond To Rising Energy Prices in the US

  • Gas prices are displayed at at a gas station in the Brooklyn borough of New York, the United States, on March 8, 2022.

    Gas prices are displayed at at a gas station in the Brooklyn borough of New York, the United States, on March 8, 2022. | Photo: Michael Nagle/Xinhua

Published 30 March 2022

According to media reports, the U.S. administration is considering the possibility of withdrawing oil from strategic reserves.

Russia and Ukraine held the fourth face-to-face negotiations in Turkey on Tuesday. Although both sides clinched some progress in exploring possible ways out of the current situation, their armed conflict continues. Below are the main events as they happen.

Biden to announce measures to respond to rising energy prices in the U.S.

U.S. President Joe Biden will unveil measures aimed at reducing energy prices in the U.S. market on Thursday, according to the U.S. leader's work schedule published by the White House.

"At 1:30 p.m., the president will announce his administration's actions to reduce the impact of (Russian President Vladimir) Putin's-induced energy price increases and lower gasoline prices for American families," Biden's schedule reads.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg Agency, citing knowledgeable sources, reported that the Biden administration is considering allocating about 1 million barrels of oil a day from the U.S. strategic reserves for several months to combat rising gasoline prices and supply shortages.

According to the agency, the total volume of allocated oil could reach up to 180 million barrels.

S&P removes Russian and Belarusian bonds from its 11 indices

S&P Dow Jones Indices (S&P DJI) said on Wednesday it has decided to remove Russian and Belarusian bonds from its 11 indices.

"S&P Dow Jones Indices ("S&P DJI") conducted a consultation with market participants on the potential removal of Russian bonds and announced the results on March 15, 2022, indicating that all bonds from issuers whose Country of Risk is Russia or Belarus will be removed from the impacted indices," it said in a press statement posted on its website.

According to S&P, the bonds will be removed from the indices on March 31.

Ukraine recalls its ambassadors from Georgia and Morocco

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he had signed decrees recalling Ukrainian ambassadors to Georgia and Morocco because "they are losing time on the diplomatic front" in these countries.

"Signed a decree (...) to recall the ambassador from Morocco. Also brought back the ambassador from Georgia," Zelensky said in a video message Wednesday night, adding that "they are losing time on the diplomatic front."

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky announced on March 1 the withdrawal of the ambassador from Georgia for consultations due to the Georgian government's position of refusing to join sanctions against Russia and preventing Georgian volunteers from being sent to Ukraine.

On March 14, Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili called on Zelensky to return Ukraine's ambassador to Tbilisi.

WSJ: US, Europe afraid of imposing sanctions against Kaspersky Lab

The United States and Europe are afraid that sanctions against Russia’s Kaspersky Lab software company will add to the risks of cyberattacks against Western countries, which is why there is no accord in the US administration concerning restrictions against that company, The Wall Street Journal said on Wednesday, citing its sources.

According to the sources, the White House’s National Security Council has postponed discussions of possible sanctions against Kaspersky Lab in the US Department of the Treasury.

The Federal Communications Commission of the United States on Friday added products of Russia’s Kaspersky Lab into its list of equipment and services that pose a security threat. Following it, the company said it was disappointed with the commission’s decision to ban the use of federal allowances to purchase Kaspersky Lab’s products and slammed it as politically motivated. According to Kaspersky Lab, it is ready to cooperate with US government agencies and answer any questions from regulators.

Germany ready to provide security guarantees to Ukraine - German foreign minister

Germany is ready to provide security guarantees to Ukraine after the end of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on the ARD television channel on Wednesday.

"If assurances are needed, Germany will also be there and give guarantees," Baerbock said.

"We are in complete solidarity with Ukraine, 100%," she assured adding that was referred to the peace talks and the later peace order. Nevertheless, Baerbock pointed out that the talks between Ukraine and Russia were not in the stage that would suggest that a breakthrough was within reach.

Russia will continue to defend its interests before the West - Deputy Foreign Minister

Russia intends to continue to defend its interests before the collective West, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said in an interview with RT TV channel.

"It’s not about Ukraine, it’s not about what is going on there, it’s just because they hate Russia, they don’t believe there is any place for independent Russian policies that we will protect and defend," he said.

Ryabkov called Russophobia "disgusting". "This is something that is completely out of touch with all so-called European and western values," he said.

"I think the dust will settle at some point, but our people suffer because of these essentially racist policies that are being instigated to some extent by governments and by media outlets in many European countries," the diplomat noted.

He added that Russian embassies and consulates are ready to provide any assistance to citizens or Russian-speaking people abroad who have faced discrimination. "We will do our utmost to offer all services needed to compatriots and those Russians who suffer because of this. We will offer them legal assistance, advice, stay in touch with them - our consulates and embassies will be open," he said.


Russia to Buy Back $2 Billion in Bonds, but Will Pay in Rubles

Zelensky, Biden discuss support for Ukraine over phone. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Wednesday that he has discussed support for Ukraine with U.S. President Joe Biden. The situation on the battlefield in Ukraine and the diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis were other topics of the hour-long conversation.

The White House said Biden informed Zelensky that the United States intended to provide the Ukrainian government with US$500 million in direct budgetary aid.

Ukraine confirms partial withdrawal of Russian troops from Kiev, Chernihiv directions. On Wednesday, Ukrainian Defense Ministry's spokesman Olexandr Motuzyanyk confirmed that Russia has been withdrawing some troops from Kiev and Chernihiv directions, in central and northern Ukraine respectively.

Given that there was no mass withdrawal of Russian troops from those areas, Motuzyanyk suggested that Russian forces may renew their offensive against Kiev and Chernihiv after replenishing the units that suffered the biggest losses in the battles.

On Tuesday, however, Russia's Defense Ministry announced that Russia has decided to significantly reduce military activity in the Kiev and Chernihiv directions.

Slovakia expels 35 Russian diplomats. On Wednesday, Slovakia's Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Juraj Tomaga reported that his country expelled 35 Russian diplomats whom he accuses of conducting espionage activities "in violation of the Vienna convention."

On March 14, Slovakia also expelled three Russian embassy employees and gave them 72 hours to leave the country.

Germany declares early warning level of gas emergency plan. Germany's Economic Affairs and Climate Action Minister Robert Habeck announced the first stage, or the early warning level, of the gas emergency plan, saying that it's for "precautionary purposes."

"Security of supply continues to be guaranteed... there are no supply bottlenecks currently, he said, adding that a crisis team was activated to "analyze and assess the supply situation so that further measures can be taken to increase supply security, if necessary."

Last week, Russia announced that it would only accept payment for gas imports in rubles from "unfriendly countries." In response, the Group of Seven (G7) rejected payments in rubles, citing reasons of contractual compliance.

In February 2022, prices for energy produced in Germany were up by 68 percent year on year, while prices for imported energy even soared 129.5 percent. Consumers had to pay 22.5 percent more for household energy and motor fuels than in February last year, according to he Federal Statistical Office (Destatis).

Last week, Germany's lower house of parliament Bundestag approved a law amendment to oblige all operators in the country to gradually fill their gas storage facilities in order to stabilize the country's storage levels.

Ukraine sets up three humanitarian corridors. Ukraine established three humanitarian corridors on Wednesday, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on Telegram.

Two corridors were set up to allow Ukrainian civilians to flee the cities of Melitopol and Energodar in the southern Zaporizhzhia region, which were captured by Russia's forces, Vereshchuk said, adding that another humanitarian route was established in the eastern Donetsk region to evacuate people from the city of Mariupol, where active hostilities are underway.

Last Thursday Ukraine established seven humanitarian corridors, following nine corridors the previous day, according to Ukraine's government-run Ukrinform news agency.

Zelenski asks the Norwegian Parliament for more weapons and sanctions on Russia. During a video conference on Wednesday, President Volodymir Zelensky asked Norway for more economic sanctions against Russia and anti-aircraft missiles, defense systems, and armored vehicles.

To reduce Europe's dependence on Russian oil and gas, he also called on the Nordic country to make a "decisive contribution" to energy security. Currently, Norway provides between 20 and 25 percent of the gas consumed in the European Union (EU). 

In recent months, the Norwegian authorities have promoted adjustments to slightly increase exports, but they have admitted their facilities are at the limit of their capacity.

Minutes before the Ukrainian president's intervention, the Norwegian government announced a new donation of 2,000 rocket launchers.

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