EconomyFirstFT: EU readies more Russia sanctions after reports of...

FirstFT: EU readies more Russia sanctions after reports of atrocities against civilians

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The EU is preparing to introduce more sanctions against Moscow after reports of atrocities emerged in the wake of Russia’s military retreat from the outskirts of Kyiv.

Charles Michel, president of the European Council, said further sanctions were “on their way” in response to Russia’s actions in Bucha, a city about 25km north-west of Kyiv that was under Russian occupation until recently. Emine Dzheppar, Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister, said soldiers who had retaken Bucha reported “numerous civilians shot dead”.

“Shocked by haunting images of atrocities committed by Russian army in Kyiv liberated region,” Michel wrote on Twitter on Sunday. “Further EU sanctions & support are on their way. EU is assisting Ukraine & NGOs in gathering of necessary evidence for pursuit in international courts.”

EU ambassadors are expected to discuss the fresh round of measures on Wednesday, according to a diplomat with knowledge of the plans.

The pledge for more punitive measures against Russia followed strong western condemnation of alleged Russian war crimes against unarmed Ukrainian civilians in recently liberated areas around Kyiv, as Moscow shifts its war focus to the country’s east.

More on Ukraine:

  • Military briefing: Ukraine has retaken the whole of the Kyiv region, including several towns near the capital.

  • Nato: Just four months ago, the idea of Finland joining Nato this year would have seemed far-fetched. Now, the prospect of Russia’s once-neutral neighbour applying to become a member seems all but inevitable.

  • Diplomacy: The war has sparked a debate in Europe on the merits of neutrality. Chinese leader Xi Jinping called on the EU “to pursue an independent policy towards China” — a thinly veiled criticism of the bloc’s solidarity with the US.

  • Sanctions: Small businesses and multinationals alike are devising creative solutions to keep money flowing in and out of Russia as they face decisions about whether to suspend business in the country entirely.

  • Roman Abramovich: With Vladimir Putin’s personal blessing, the unlikely peacemaker has criss-crossed the region while trying to protect his own assets. A London-listed port operator said it will forgo fees for hosting his superyacht.

  • Demographics: Asked what keeps him up at night, Vladimir Putin identified Russia’s population decline and the threat it poses to the economy. The birth rate dropped during the second world war and after the fall of the Soviet Union, leading to labour shortages.

  • Energy: The head of the world’s second-largest utility has criticised EU energy policy, saying dependence on imported gas should have been addressed long ago. Lithuania became the first EU member to end Russian gas supplies.

  • The war in maps: Follow the conflict with the FT’s visual guide to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in a series of maps and infographics.

Thanks for reading FirstFT Europe/Africa. Here’s the rest of today’s news — George

1. Ports and storms: Has globalisation peaked? Dockworkers in Los Angeles have never been busier. The biggest US port reported its highest-ever level of activity in February. Yet policymakers, economists and investors fear globalisation has peaked after 30 years of growth.

2. Keeping Rolls-Royce humming The next chief executive of Rolls-Royce should resist the temptation for a radical change in strategy despite its woeful share price performance, according to three of the aero-engine maker’s biggest shareholders, who said Warren East’s successor should focus on efficiency.

3. Martin Gilbert’s second act It began with an Abu Dhabi firefighting service and a lawsuit. After three decades of building up Aberdeen Asset Management and merging it with Standard Life, the fund manager has embarked on a venture from an unlikely base far from the world of finance.

4. Imran Khan pitches Pakistan into constitutional crisis In a fight to stay in power, the former cricketer turned prime minister has dissolved Pakistan’s parliament and triggered elections rather than face a no-confidence vote.

Supporters of Imran Khan demonstrate in Islamabad on Sunday. The prime minister has told them to prepare for elections in 90 days
Supporters of Imran Khan demonstrate in Islamabad on Sunday. The prime minister has told them to prepare for elections in 90 days © Rahmat Gul/AP

5. Calls for reform of ‘dangerous’ UK credit card rules Martin Lewis, founder of the MoneySavingExpert consumer advice site, has launched a campaign to end the “lucky dip” of advertised rates on credit cards and loans, urging the UK financial regulator to protect consumers as borrowing hit record levels.

The day ahead

EU industrial data EU industrial producer prices for February are out. In January, prices rose 5.2 per cent in the eurozone and 4.9 per cent across the bloc compared with the previous month. (Eurostat)

UK central bank Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey speaks at the Stop Scams Conference. Sir Jon Cunliffe, deputy governor, gives a talk at the European Economics & Financial Centre. (BoE)

Canada outlook Bank of Canada publishes its quarterly Business Outlook Survey. In its previous release, the central bank warned that “reports of supply chain bottlenecks and labour shortages remain elevated”. (FT, Bank of Canada)

US factory output US February factory orders data are also out. According to recently released purchasing mangers’ index responses, US “companies are not anticipating a downturn just yet”. (IHS Markit)

Space ambitions Nasa will hold a press conference to discuss the final test stages — called a “wet dress rehearsal” — for its Artemis 1 rocket. (Nasa)

Coffee klatsch Starbucks chief executive Kevin Johnson retires today, with Howard Schultz returning to the helm as interim CEO. (Reuters)

What else we’re reading

Channel 4 invests in cannabis company Channel 4 has invested in UK-based cannabis company Cannaray, betting that the European market for medical marijuana and related products will grow. Owned by the UK government but funded by advertising, the channel was the lead investor in a funding round that raised £10mn.

Viktor Orban’s resounding victory Viktor Orban won a fourth consecutive term as Hungary’s prime minister on Sunday after taking a decisive majority in elections, setting him on a collision course with the EU, which has criticised him for eroding democracy. “We won so big you can see it from the moon, let alone from Brussels,” Orban told supporters

The fading appeal of Spacs The mania for special purpose acquisition companies was always going to end in tears, writes Brooke Masters. Since the start of the pandemic, more than 1,000 such companies have floated on global stock exchanges, each promising to merge with a fabulous target and make investors rich.

Why being a manager matters more than ever Management matters. Above all, managers matter, writes Andrew Hill. If nothing else, when managers fail, things have a tendency to go wrong. Bad management leads, at best, to unnecessary misery for staff, and at worst, as two extreme cases suggest, to disaster and death.

Crackdown turns tables on casino denizens For decades, billionaire property developer Phillip Dong Fang Lee was a VIP at the Star Entertainment Group casino in Sydney. But his fortunes have changed after being called as a witness in a high-profile crackdown by Chinese and Australian authorities on money laundering and junkets.

Fake news

While most of us are far from the tanks and the bombs, we are all participating in an information war, writes columnist Tim Harford. While it might seem smart to reject every claim as potential disinformation, it’s wiser to try to figure out the difference between truth and lies. Here are some simple guidelines to follow when interacting with social media.

soldier poses in front of a green screen
Tim Harford: ‘We fall for misinformation not because of stupidity, but emotion’ © Guillem Casasús

Working It Discover what’s shaking up the world of work with our latest newsletter, Working It, from work & careers editor Isabel Berwick.

Disrupted Times — Your essential FT newsletter about the changes in business and the economy between Covid and conflict. Sign up here

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