Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated on Wednesday that Moscow’s military “tasks” in Ukraine now extend beyond the eastern Donbas region, as the Kremlin’s soldiers shelled eastern and southern Ukraine.

DIPLOMACY

  • His remarks, the strongest acknowledgement yet that Russia’s military objectives have extended over the five months of war, came as Washington claimed it saw signs Moscow was poised to formally annex territory gained in its neighbor.
  • According to US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, the US will provide four more high mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS) to Ukraine.
  • According to the UN Refugee Agency, the number of border crossings from Ukraine has surpassed 9.5 million since Russia’s invasion.

FIGHTING

  • According to Moscow-installed regional authorities, Ukrainian shelling severely damaged the vital Antonivskyi bridge in the Russia-controlled Kherson area of southern Ukraine.
  • A Russian missile strike at a bus stop in Kharkiv killed a 13-year-old child and injured his 15-year-old sister, according to local officials. Russia, which denies attacking civilians, did not respond immediately.

ECONOMY

  • The European Union has instructed member states to limit gas use by 15% until March as an emergency measure, following President Vladimir Putin’s warning that Russian supplies to Europe via the largest pipeline could be reduced further, if not halted entirely.
  • Russian gas flows through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline are expected to resume on Thursday following the completion of scheduled maintenance, albeit at a lesser capacity than its full capacity, according to two Russian sources familiar with the export preparations.
  • Following a meeting with Putin in Tehran, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan stated that an outline agreement on resuming Ukrainian grain exports from the Black Sea, which is now blocked by Russian military, should be placed in writing this week.
  • Ukraine’s western creditor nations encouraged bondholders to accept Kiev’s request for a two-year postponement in debt payments, threatening to stop payments owed to them.

Source: Reuters

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