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Ukraine Latest: Russia Says Captured US Fighters May Face Death


Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said two US veterans captured in Ukraine could face the death penalty, adding that the Geneva Conventions likely don’t apply as Moscow doesn’t consider the men part of Kyiv’s national army.

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(Bloomberg) — Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said two US veterans captured in Ukraine could face the death penalty, adding that the Geneva Conventions likely don’t apply as Moscow doesn’t consider the men part of Kyiv’s national army.

The European Union’s 27 member states are set to formally grant Ukraine candidate status later this week in the first symbolic step on the long path to joining the bloc.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said talks are continuing on how the US and its allies might cap the price of Russian oil exports, possibly through a plan that offers exceptions to the European ban on insuring Russian oil shipments.

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(See RSAN on the Bloomberg Terminal for the Russian Sanctions Dashboard.)

Key Developments

  • Ukraine Poised to Get Backing of EU States on Membership Path
  • Dutch Are Reviving Coal Power Amid Russian Gas Squeeze
  • Russia Tightens EU Gas Grip as It Rejects Extra Ukraine Transit
  • Yellen Says ‘Stay Tuned’ for Word on Russian Oil Price-Cap Plan

The Latest on the Ground

Fighting continues in Sievierodonetsk and Russia is bombarding the city of Lysychansk, as it attempts to seize the last pocket of the Luhansk region controlled by Ukrainian forces, regional governor Serhiy Haiday said. The Russian offensive in the Donbas continued as troops advanced toward Bakhmut, a city in Donetsk region, according to Ukraine’s military staff. Tens of thousands of soldiers have been killed or wounded since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24 and about a quarter of Ukraine’s population has been forced from their homes as a result of the war.

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(All times CET)

Georgian Premier Says EU ‘Unfair’ on Candidate Status (8:47 a.m.) 

Georgia considers it “unfair” for the EU not to grant candidacy status to the country after recommending it for Ukraine and Moldova, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said in an interview at the Qatar Economic Forum with Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait. The Caucasus nation “would be the first country to be granted the status” on the merits of complying with the EU’s requirements, and the bloc gave it to Ukraine and Moldova because of the situation created by Russia’s war, he said.

While Georgia supports Ukraine politically, it’s in a “very vulnerable” position and can’t impose national sanctions on Russia over the invasion, though it won’t let Russian companies use Georgian territory to bypass the international measures, he said.

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Oil Advances as Investors Weigh Outlook for Demand (7:26 a.m.)

Oil ticked higher as traders weighed the odds of a recession in the US amid Federal Reserve tightening, with President Joe Biden pushing back against the notion that the world’s largest economy faces a contraction.

Oil is headed for a quarterly gain, with prices supported by rising demand and supply disruptions spurred by the war in Ukraine, although the Fed’s pivot toward tighter monetary policy has stoked concern of an economic slowdown. 

Kremlin Says Captured US Veterans Could Face Death Penalty (5:15 a.m.)

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told US broadcaster NBC he couldn’t guarantee the two Americans captured in Ukraine wouldn’t face capital punishment, saying they should be “held responsible for the crimes they have committed.”

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In the interview that aired Monday, he said Alexander Drueke and Andy Huynh, whose families reported them missing last week, weren’t likely to be protected by the Geneva Conventions as prisoners of war. That’s because Moscow considers them “soldiers of fortune” not part of the Ukrainian army, he said, adding that there’d be a full investigation into their cases.

Some 20,000 people from around the world have responded to Kyiv’s call to join the International Legion of Ukraine’s effort against Russian forces, the Ukrainian government said in March. A court in the Russian-occupied Donetsk region previously sentenced two British fighters and a Moroccan to death. 

Russian Editor’s Nobel Medal Sells for Record $103.5 Million (2:45 a.m.)

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Dmitry Muratov, the Russian editor awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for championing freedom of speech, auctioned his medal Monday for $103.5 million, breaking the record for a Nobel.

The previous record was set in 2014, when James Watson sold his medal for discovering the structure of DNA for $4.76 million. Muratov will donate the money to help Ukrainian refugees. 

US Says Russian Oil Price-Cap Plan in Progress (2:09 a.m.)

Yellen said the US and its allies are discussing “essentially a price cap” that would act as an exception to the European ban on insurance services needed to ship seaborne Russian oil. 

“We are talking about price caps or a price exception that would enhance and strengthen recent and proposed energy restrictions by Europe, the United States, the UK and others,” she said.

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Ukraine to Get EU Candidate Status (9:20 p.m.)

The EU’s 27 member states are set to formally grant Ukraine candidate status later this week, according to people familiar with the matter. The European Commission made the recommendation last week and included criteria Kyiv will have to meet on issues related to the rule of law, justice and anti-corruption.

The bloc is also set to back the commission’s opinion in granting candidate status to Moldova, as well as to Georgia if it first meets specific additional conditions, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.

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