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FirstFT: Ukraine forces push Russian troops back

FirstFT: Ukraine forces push Russian troops back

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Volodymyr Zelensky hailed Ukraine’s army for retaking territory from Russia’s invading forces while his chief of staff urged the west to provide more offensive weapons on the eve of a Nato summit.

In his regular overnight address, Ukraine’s president said Russian forces had been “defeated” around Kherson, in the south of the country, which became the first sizeable town to fall in the month-long campaign. Ukraine’s army also claims to have retaken Makariv on the outskirts of the capital Kyiv.

A senior US defence official said yesterday that Russian forces were struggling with communication, logistics and fuel. Some troops have been evacuated after suffering from frost bite because they lacked proper cold weather gear, the official said.

But Jake Sullivan, US national security adviser, warned “this war will not end easily or rapidly”, ahead of President Joe Biden’s visit to Europe.

There are signs that the surprising gains made by Ukraine’s army have depleted their supplies of anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles. Andriy Yermak, Zelensky’s chief of staff, urged western nations to give his country more weapons to fight the Russians.

“We cannot win a war without offensive weapons, without medium-range missiles that can be a means of deterrence,” he wrote on Telegram.

Zelensky is expected to address a meeting of Nato leaders tomorrow via video-link and make a plea for more military support. EU and G7 leaders are also due to meet tomorrow in Brussels and are expected to announce new sanctions against Russia.

More news on Ukraine

  • Military briefing: Moscow is increasingly relying on “dumb” bombs to regain momentum as it runs out of more sophisticated weaponry.

  • Financial services: BNP Paribas and Crédit Agricole of France are the latest big international bank to sever ties with corporate clients in Russia.

  • Opinion: Putin’s invasion needs a global economic response, writes Martin Wolf. Janan Ganesh argues that the war is not about democracy versus autocracy. Navalny’s sentence suggests that Putin and his allies fear support is brittle, says the FT editorial board.

Share your thoughts with us at firstft@ft.com and we may feature them in the newsletter. Here’s the rest of today’s news — Gordon

Ketanji Brown Jackson fends off Republican criticism Joe Biden’s nomination for the Supreme Court defended her work representing Guantánamo Bay prisoners on the second day of her nomination hearing.

Ketanji Brown Jackson
Ketanji Brown Jackson has been nominated to fill the Supreme Court seat that is being vacated by Stephen Breyer © Andrew Harnik/AP

2. US agrees to ease tariffs on UK imports The Biden administration is to suspend the Trump-era levies on UK steel and aluminium products to bolster transatlantic relations. The UK responded by agreeing to lift its retaliatory tariffs on US imports of bourbon, agricultural and other goods from June 1.

3. World’s top women’s tennis player quits Australian tennis player Ashleigh Barty announced her retirement from the sport at the age of 25. The winner of last year’s Wimbledon and the Australian Open in January said she was “spent” from the emotional challenges of being on tour.

4. JPMorgan chief’s spending plan criticised Jamie Dimon is facing rare investor criticism over a multibillion-dollar plan to modernise the group’s technology and to enter the UK’s competitive retail banking market.

5. Taliban reverses decision to allow teenage girls to attend secondary school The U-turn has sparked international condemnation and left desperate students stranded outside campuses. Girls had been allowed to attend primary school but the Taliban had said students from Grade 7, or about age 13, would not be allowed to resume classes.

The day ahead

Ukraine crisis President Joe Biden arrives in Europe ahead of talks with G7 and EU allies. European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and European Council president Charles Michel will address the EU parliament while Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau will also address European lawmakers. Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky is to address French lawmakers virtually following an address to the Japanese parliament.

Powell addresses conference Federal Reserve chair Jay Powell will participate in a panel at the Bank for International Settlements Innovation Summit 2022 alongside Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey and Joachim Nagel, president of Germany’s central bank.

Ketanji Brown Jackson nomination hearing The US Senate judiciary committee will question president Joe Biden’s nominee to the Supreme Court for a second day. The confirmation hearing is due to finish tomorrow.

Earnings Chinese gaming and social media giant Tencent’s fourth-quarter profit is expected to nearly halve, according to Refinitiv data, amid regulatory scrutiny and a slowdown in advertising.

Join us on April 7 for our Energy Source Live Summit, when we will take a deep dive into the issues set to reshape the US energy industry in the years to come. Register here.

And today sees the launch of Disrupted Times, a newsletter focusing on the changes to business and the economy between Covid and conflict. Sign up here

What else we’re reading

Why ‘shrinkflation’ means you are paying the same for less Some companies are happy to pass on higher costs to customers — others are more sneaky, says Brooke Masters. And shrinkflation does not stop at manufacturers. Service and hospitality providers are under pressure to find creative ways to preserve their margins.

Amazon’s union-busting tactics put to test again The contest for union recognition at the Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama is being rerun. With postal ballots due to be counted next week, the stakes are even higher this time around.

Scientists debate fourth Covid vaccine A fourth vaccine dose offers protection for elderly people and those with health problems, a body of research suggests, but experts have found a lack of evidence to support rolling out a fresh round of jabs more broadly.

Wirecard: the case against Markus Braun The former chief executive of the payments company that went bust with debts of €3bn has swapped his life as a paper billionaire and is now facing fraud charges and the possibility of up to 15 years in prison. But his case is not clear cut.

Leftist aims to upset France’s apple cart Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the far-left presidential candidate in France, is rising in the polls and hopes to make it to the presidential run-off round. And he might yet surprise pollsters.


Leah Quinn’s list of the five best works of fiction about Ukraine covers everything from a ragtag group of alcoholic teenagers to the lives of women in the Donbas region, as well as Fieldwork in Ukrainian Sex, dubbed “the most influential Ukrainian book [since] independence”.

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