Mon, 20 Mar 2023

European Union member states, the Group of Seven industrialised countries and Australia said Friday that they adopted a price cap on Russian oil. The move is the latest part of an international push to limit Russian President Vladimir Putin's war chest for his assault on Ukraine by targeting his key exports. Follow our live blog for all the latest developments. All times are Paris time (GMT+1).

9:36am: EU pledges more support for Ukraine, as Zelensky pushes for fast-track membership

The European Union offered strong support for Ukraine at a summit in Kyiv as air raid sirens wailed on Friday, but set "no rigid time lines" for its accession to the wealthy bloc.

President Volodymyr Zelensky had hoped the EU would put Ukraine on a rapid road to membership. He used the summit to step up calls for allies to deliver long-range weapons to help repel Russian forces besieging the city of Bakhmut and occupying much of the eastern Donbas industrial region.

Speaking in a video address after the summit, Zelenskiy said, "we have an understanding that it will be possible for Ukraine to start EU accession negotiations this year". But at the summit itself there was no promise of fast-track membership and the EU's next package of sanctions on Russia, its 10th, is expected to fall short of Kyiv's expectations.

Kyiv applied to become an EU member shortly after the invasion began and wants to start formal accession talks as soon as possible, as FRANCE 24's Gulliver Cragg reports from Kyiv:

4:24am: US allows seized Russian money to go to Ukraine aid

Attorney General Merrick Garland said Friday that he had authorised the United States to begin using seized Russian money to aid Ukraine, according to US media.

The announcement came during a meeting between Garland and Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin in Washington, nearly one year after Moscow's invasion of its former Soviet neighbour. "Today, I am announcing that I have authorised the first-ever transfer of forfeited Russian assets for use in Ukraine," Garland said, according to CNN.

The money will come from assets confiscated from Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev after his indictment on sanctions evasions in April, he added. The money will go to the State Department "to support the people of Ukraine," CNN reported Garland as saying.

Kostin welcomed the move, which he said would see $5.4 million of confiscated assets go toward "rebuilding Ukraine."

10:49pm: EU, G7, Australia reach deal on price caps for Russian fuel

European Union member states, the Group of Seven industrialised countries and Australia said Friday that they have reached an agreement on price caps for Russian petroleum products, an attempt to target Russian President Vladimir Putin's key exports and limit his assault on Ukraine.

The caps involve two price levels, $100 per barrel for more expensive fuel like diesel and $45 on lower-quality products such as fuel oil, according to officials. The price caps on those transported products work by establishing a ceiling for the cost of fuel that can be transported on ships.

The EU in December imposed an embargo on Russian crude oil coming in by sea and -- together with its G7 partners -- set a $60-dollar-per-barrel cap for exports around the world. The second embargo, on Russian fuel, is set to come into force on Sunday or soon after. It targets Russian refined oil products such as petrol, diesel and heating fuel, arriving on ships.

At the same time, the EU and the G7 group of wealthy democracies have also agreed to impose a price cap on Russian shipments of those products to global markets.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)

Originally published on France24

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