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Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine

Russia faces ‘economic oblivion’

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a plenary session at the Strong Ideas for a New Time forum held by Agency for Strategic Initiatives (ASI) in Moscow, Russia July 20, 2022.

Alexey Maishev | Kremlin | Sputnik | via Reuters

Russia is facing “economic oblivion” in the long-term because of international sanctions and the flight of businesses, several economists have said.

Many see long-lasting costs to the Russian economy from the exit of foreign firms – which will hit production capacity and capital and result in a “brain drain” – along with the loss of its long-term oil and gas markets and diminished access to critical imports of technology and inputs.

Read the full story here.

—Elliot Smith

BP’s Gelsenkirchen plant no longer uses Russian crude

Shares of BP are up over 20% year-to-date.

Sopa Images | Lightrocket | Getty Images

Amid its second-quarter earnings update Tuesday, BP CEO Bernard Looney said that the firm’s refinery in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, no longer uses Russian crude, down from 50%.

Oil majors have been one of many sectors that have cut or significantly reduced their exposure to Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.

Back in late February, BP announced it was offloading its 19.75% stake in Rosneft, a Russian-controlled oil company.

— Matt Clinch

US ‘deeply concerned’ of Russian control of Ukrainian nuclear facilities, Blinken says

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks at the tenth annual review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty at U.N. headquarters on August 01, 2022 in New York City.

Spencer Platt | Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. is “deeply concerned” about reports that Russian forces have taken over nuclear facilities in Ukraine.

“There are credible reports, including in the media today, that Russia is using this plant as the equivalent of a human shield, but a nuclear shield in the sense that it’s firing on Ukrainians from around the plant,” Blinken told reporters at the United Nations, adding that this was “the height of irresponsibility.”

“And of course, the Ukrainians cannot and will not fire back, lest there be a terrible accident involving a nuclear plant,” he said.

Blinken said that it was important that the International Atomic Energy Agency be granted access to nuclear facilities in order to safeguard against an accident.

— Amanda Macias

Germany argues over nuclear shutdown amid gas supply worries

Steam rises from the cooling tower of the nuclear power plant (NPP) Isar 2 in Essenbach Germany.

Armin Weigel | Picture Alliance | Getty Images

Rising concern over the impact of a potential Russian gas cutoff is fueling the debate in Germany over whether the country should switch off its last three nuclear power plants as planned at the end of this year.

The door to some kind of extension appeared to open a crack after the Economy Ministry in mid-July announced a new “stress test” on the security of electricity supplies. It’s supposed to take into account a tougher scenario than a previous test, concluded in May, that found supplies were assured.

Since then, Russia has reduced natural gas supplies through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany to 20% of capacity amid tensions over the war in Ukraine. It cited technical issues that Germany says are only an excuse for a political power play. Russia recently has accounted for about a third of Germany’s gas supply, and there are concerns it could turn off the tap altogether.

The main opposition Union bloc has made increasingly frequent demands for an extension of the nuclear plants’ lives. Similar calls are coming from the smallest party in Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s coalition government, the pro-business Free Democrats.

— Associated Press

Macron tells Zelenskyy that Russian war crimes will not go unpunished

French President Emmanuel Macron says he’s in favor of a price cap on Russian oil as he speaks to the media on the third and final day of the G7 summit at Schloss Elmau on June 28, 2022 near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.

Sean Gallup | Getty Images News | Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a phone call that war crimes committed by Russian forces will “not go unpunished.”

“While war crimes are multiplying, the President of the Republic reaffirmed his support for the Ukrainian people and their resistance and declared his determination to ensure that these crimes do not go unpunished,” a French presidential office source wrote in a readout of the call.

During the call, the 36th exchange between the two leaders since Russia’s war in Ukraine began, Macron said that France would send a team of forensic experts and a mobile DNA analysis laboratory to Ukraine.

— Amanda Macias

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