FirstFT: US and UK ban Russian oil and gas imports
President Joe Biden has banned imports of Russian oil and gas into the US as Washington steps up economic sanctions on Moscow over the invasion of Ukraine in a bid to deprive it of revenue.
The move was matched by a UK ban on Russian oil imports, but the EU did not follow suit and instead unveiled a plan to cut Russian gas imports by two-thirds within a year.
The US decision opens a new front in efforts to isolate Russia from the global economy, following moves to impose sanctions on key Russian banks, top government officials and oligarchs, as well as its central bank.
“Russian oil will no longer be acceptable at US ports and the American people will deal another powerful blow to [Vladimir] Putin’s war machine,” Biden said, speaking from the White House.
But a ban on US and UK imports will be far less disruptive to global markets than a full international embargo as only a small proportion of Russian shipments goes to those two markets.
More on Ukraine
Markets Briefing: Wheat and nickel prices rose sharply as Russian forces intensified shelling. The London Metal Exchange suspended nickel trading after the price doubled and doesn’t expect to restart trading this week.
Troop movements: Russian troops are moving against Kyiv from a new front, according to US defence officials, as Putin seeks to “grind down” Ukraine’s military and prepares for a new onslaught on the country’s capital.
Business news: McDonald’s and Starbucks are closing all their outlets in Russia. Shell has also said it will withdraw from the country and immediately stop new purchases of Russian oil.
Explainer: How the Ukraine war could boost China’s global finance ambitions.
Taiwan: Russia’s assault on Ukraine is a wake-up call for Taiwan, where there is increased awareness that the Chinese Communist party could make good on its warning to take by force the island it claims as its own.
Opinion: The west should strengthen sanctions — though they may ruin Russia’s economy without changing its policy or regime, writes Martin Wolf.
Follow our live blog for the latest developments and the conflict in maps.
Five more stories in the news
1. Qatar mediates between Iran and US in nuclear talks Qatar has stepped up its role in mediating between the US and Iran as western powers have been striving to convince wary Iranian leaders to sign a deal to revive the 2015 nuclear accord, according to people briefed on the talks.
2. Adidas ousts China chief as sales suffer The German sportswear group has replaced Jason Thomas, head of its Greater China operations, after the company lost market share to upstart domestic brands following a consumer boycott over its stance on Xinjiang cotton.
3. Google buys cyber security company Mandiant Google has agreed to pay $5.4bn to acquire Mandiant, one of the best-known sleuths that track sophisticated cyber attacks, giving it a prime position on the front lines of the battle against cyber crime and digital warfare.
4. Ex-Apollo executive Josh Harris explores bid for Chelsea FC Josh Harris, the US billionaire and former top executive at Apollo Global Management, is exploring a bid for Chelsea football club, according to people familiar with the matter.
5. Nicolás Maduro hails ‘cordial’ talks with US Venezuela’s president described nearly two hours of talks with a US government delegation over the weekend as “respectful” and “cordial”. Washington is exploring a rapprochement with Caracas as it considers banning Russian oil imports.
As Covid cases soar, Hong Kong residents are faced with a difficult choice: continue waiting for authorities to act — or decide to leave.
Moderna pledged never to enforce its Covid-19 vaccine patents in low- and middle-income nations following criticism that its opposition to waiving intellectual property rights threatens Africa’s access to life-saving jabs.
The Covid-19 pandemic forced female founders to make the most of their skills at achieving more with fewer resources than many of their male counterparts.
The day ahead
South Korean election Voters go to the polls to decide a presidential contest that has been tainted by scandal, family drama and insinuations of corruption, criminality and nepotism, and fraud.
Inflation data China’s February consumer price index and producer price index figures are set to be released. Japan will also announce its February producer price index figures.
IMF votes on aid package for Ukraine The proposed support package would meet the request made by Ukraine last week for $1.4bn under the IMF’s Rapid Financing Instrument.
Join us in person and online today and tomorrow at Climate Capital Live, a platform for politicians, business leaders and financiers to evaluate the risks and opportunities they face in light of the climate crisis. Register here.
What else we’re reading
Will the Ukraine war derail the green energy transition? The war in Ukraine is leading to a surge in demand for coal and a rethink on fossil fuels — complicating the shift to renewable energy and the reduction of greenhouse gasses.
Market turbulence hits India’s LIC IPO Selling 5 per cent of the Life Insurance Corporation’s shares was expected to raise up to $8bn, part of a government disinvestment strategy launched in 2020. But two years on, with Russia’s war in Ukraine unleashing severe market turbulence, the LIC’s public offering could be in danger, writes Chloe Cornish.
China’s chained woman exposes horror of one-child policy Xiao Huamei was trafficked and locked up by her husband, but authorities initially justified her treatment. When a video of Xiao went viral, it sparked outrage focused on the state’s failure to find and protect victims of human trafficking that proliferated as a result of China’s one-child policy.
Rewriting the post-Covid contract for dual-career couples Anyone in a couple where both are pursuing careers knows very well the tensions of accommodating each other’s work priorities, writes Brooke Masters. Now, as the pandemic recedes, she warns of new opportunities and pitfalls for dual-career couples.
Getting the most out of a career change Most salaried workers share two things: a dislike for their jobs and a reluctance to leave them. Breaking through the inertia takes something big. Lucy Kellaway shares four lessons about the change and how to get the most from it.
Did you make a career change during the pandemic? Take our poll.
Four sunny escapes for spring-summer, including the less-trod island of Syros in the Cyclades and swimming with the marine-mammalian species of Dominica, as well as the mid-century magic in Joshua Tree.
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