Fri, 24 Mar 2023

Ukraine on Saturday welcomed a G7-led agreement on a $60 per barrel price cap on Russian seaborne crude oil, with a senior presidential aide saying it would "destroy" Russia's economy. Meanwhile, Russia is likely planning to encircle the Donetsk Oblast town of Bakhmut with tactical advances to the north and south, Britain's defence ministry said on Saturday. Follow our live blog for the latest on the war in Ukraine. All times are Paris time (GMT+1).

10:36am: Kherson officials ease river crossings from Russian-held territory

Officials in the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson announced on Saturday they would help citizens evacuate from parts of Russian-occupied territory on the east bank of the Dnipro River amid fears of intensified fighting.

Yaroslav Yanushevych, the regional governor, said officials were temporarily lifting a ban on crossings to allow Ukrainians living in villages across the river to traverse the Dnipro during daylight hours and to a designated point.

"Evacuation is necessary due to the possible intensification of hostilities in this area," he wrote on the Telegram messaging app. Ukrainian troops liberated the city of Kherson, which sits on the west bank of the Dnipro, from Russian occupation on November 11 but Moscow's forces still control the rest of the region on the east bank.

10:25am: Oil price cap 'will destroy' Russia's economy, Ukraine says

Ukraine's presidency on Saturday said a $60 price cap on Russian oil agreed by the EU, G7 and Australia "will destroy" Russia's economy.

"We always achieve our goal and Russia's economy will be destroyed, and it will pay and be responsible for all its crimes," Ukraine's presidential chief of staff Andriy Yermak said on Telegram. But a cap of "$30 would have destroyed it more quickly", he added.

9:46am: Russia: price cap is 'dangerous' and will not curb demand for our oil

Russia said on Saturday it would continue to find buyers for its oil, despite what it said was a "dangerous" attempt by Western governments to introduce a price cap on its oil exports.

A coalition of Western countries led by the G7 group of nations agreed on Friday to cap the price of Russian seaborne oil at $60 a barrel, as they aim to limit Moscow's revenues and curb its ability to finance its invasion of Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin and high-ranking Kremlin officials have repeatedly said that they will not supply oil to countries that implement the price cap.

In comments published on Telegram, Russia's embassy in the US criticised what it said was the "reshaping" of free market principles and reiterated that its oil would continue to be in demand despite the measures. "Steps like these will inevitably result in increasing uncertainty and imposing higher costs for raw materials' consumers," it said.

"Regardless of the current flirtations with the dangerous and illegitimate instrument, we are confident that Russian oil will continue to be in demand".

9:00am: Situation 'pretty bleak', says FRANCE24's Parsons reporting from Mykolaiv

Reporting from Mykolaiv, FRANCE24's Rob Parsons says the situation in the southern Ukrainian city is dire after constant Russian shelling and an almost complete absence of electricity due to Russian attacks on Ukraine's power infrastructure.

8:02am: Russia likely planning to encircle Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast, UK says

Russia is likely planning to encircle the Donetsk Oblast town of Bakhmut with tactical advances to the north and south, Britain's defence ministry said on Saturday. The capture of the town would have limited operational value but it can potentially allow Russia to threaten Kramatorsk and Sloviansk, the ministry added in a daily intelligence update.

"There is a realistic possibility that Bakhmut's capture has become primarily a symbolic, political objective for Russia," the ministry said in the update posted on Twitter.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)

Originally published on France24

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