Russia oil benchmark plan; British prisoner dies

A British man has died almost three months after being taken prisoner by Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine’s east, Interfax reported, citing a representative of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic.

The European Union is falling behind on its promises to deliver substantial aid to Ukraine as the bloc faces the prospect of severe economic pain at home. Still, member states are set to agree on 500 million euros more in military aid to Ukraine when the bloc’s foreign ministers meet Monday.

Russian forces continue to hit civilian targets far from the front lines and with little apparent military significance. Missiles on Thursday struck the central Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia. At least 23 people were killed, including children.

(See RSAN on the Bloomberg Terminal for the Russian Sanctions Dashboard.)

Key Developments

  • EU Stalls on Ukraine Aid as Fears Spike of Gas Crisis at Home
  • Germany’s Uniper Starts Using Winter Gas After Russian Cuts
  • Yellen Slams Russians as War Hangs Over G-20 Finance Meeting
  • Divided Over Russia, G-20 Aims at Food Security, Debt Crises
  • Europe Becomes Top Market for US Crude as War Upends Trade
  • Russia Aims to Control Oil Pricing by Creating Own Benchmark

On the Ground

Almost five months into the war, Moscow’s forces have repeatedly hit civilian targets in the past week. At least 23 people, including a four-year-old girl, were reported dead and dozens are injured or unaccounted for after three missiles hit Vinnytsia, about 250 kilometers (155 miles) southwest of Kyiv, Governor Serhiy Borzov said. In the past day hours there were at least 31 rocket strikes in the Mykolaiv region on civilian infrastructure, two universities, and residences, said governor Vitaliy Kim. Strikes on the southern city and elsewhere in Ukraine have intensified recently.

#Mykolaiv under #Russian massive attack. At least 10 missiles were launched at the city: 2 universities were damaged.

Well-educated #Ukrainians, a prosperous nation is a “threat” to #Russia. This is the war for freedom and the future of the world.

????Mykolaiv OVA


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(All times CET)

Moscow Aims to Control Oil Pricing With New Benchmark (1:16 p.m.)

Russia’s government has made a plan to create a national oil benchmark next year, as it seeks to protect itself from efforts by the West to restrict the flow of petrodollars to the country.

Key ministries, domestic oil producers and the central bank plan to launch oil trading on a national platform in October, according to a document seen by Bloomberg News.

Donetsk Separatists Say British Prisoner Has Died: Interfax (12:40 p.m.)

A representative of the Donetsk separatist republic said Paul Urey, a British man in captivity, died on July 10, according to Interfax. The reported cause of death was chronic disease including type 1 diabetes.

Urey was detained along with another British man, Dylan Healy, at a checkpoint in southern Ukraine in late April while he was working independently as an aid volunteer, according the BBC. Two other British men, Shaun Pinner and Aiden Aslin, as well as Moroccan Brahim Saadoun, were sentenced to death last month in the region, Tass reported, citing the Donetsk News Agency.

EU Set to Propose New Russia Sanctions, Fixes (12:30 p.m.)

The EU is set to propose a new slate of penalties targeting Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, as well as actions to tighten previously approved sanctions packages.

The measures, which one of the people called a “compliance and alignment package,” are expected to target Russian gold, introduce more trade restrictions on machinery, and add more than 50 people and entities to the sanctions list.

The proposals will include clarifications and fixes to earlier measures that may have hindered the flow of agricultural and food exports from Russia.

Germany’s Uniper Already Using Winter Gas After Russian Cuts (11:08 a.m.) 

German energy giant Uniper SE has started using gas it was storing for the winter after Russia cut deliveries to Europe, increasing pressure on Berlin to speed up a bailout deal.

The country’s top buyer of Russian gas started withdrawing fuel from storage sites to supply its customers, the company said in a statement to Bloomberg on Friday.

EU Stalls on Ukraine Aid as Fears of Gas Crisis Spike at Home (6:01 a.m.)

The EU is falling behind on its high-profile promises to deliver a substantial aid package to Ukraine at the same time the bloc is confronting the prospect of severe economic pain at home.

It was nearly two months ago when European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen proposed sending 9 billion euros in emergency loans to Ukraine. So far, the bloc has only managed to agree on an initial tranche that covers a ninth of that target.

For Ukraine, the needs are urgent. The war-torn nation faces a budgetary gap of $5 billion per month to cover expenses and other urgent bills as it tries to fend off Russia’s attacks. Ukraine’s central bank remains the biggest source for financing the government’s budget and increasingly is raising alarms about the limits of its ability to provide cash through sovereign debt.

Europe Becomes Top Market for US Crude (6 a.m.) 

Europe has surpassed Asia to become the top consumer of American oil for the first time in six years.

This shift in oil flows underscores how significantly Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has redirected energy supplies. In an effort to cut off funding for Vladimir Putin’s war, the US and other nations have imposed sanctions on Russian oil. As a result, more European nations have turned to the US, while Russia offers its crude at steep discounts to countries like India and China, which have not imposed any bans.

Yellen Slams Russians at G-20 Meeting (3:25 a.m.)

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen called Russia “solely responsible” for negative economic spillover that’s driven up global commodity prices, fueling inflation around the world, a Treasury official said. She also offered words of assurance to Ukraine and called on the global community to increase and accelerate the delivery of aid to the embattled country.

Russia’s presence at the Group of 20 gathering of global finance officials, five months after its invasion of Ukraine, is expected to hamper the group’s ability to address pressing global topics, which also include mounting developing-country debt, a food security crisis, and climate change.

UN Boss ‘Appalled’ by Civilian Toll in Vinnytsia (7:31 p.m.)

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres “is appalled by today’s missile attack against the city of Vinnytsia in central Ukraine,” his spokesman said in a statement. “The secretary-general condemns any attacks against civilians or civilian infrastructure and reiterates his call for accountability for such violations.”

As the OSCE Permanent Council was meeting yesterday morning ???????? missiles struck the town of Vinnytsia & killed at least 20 people, incl. 3 children. It is disgusting, & sadly, it’s become a reality that we contend with each & every day in this Council.

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EU Set to Boost Ukraine Weapons Financing Again (5:21 p.m.)

EU member states are set to agree on 500 million euros more in military aid to Ukraine when the bloc’s foreign ministers meet Monday, said people familiar with the matter.

That would bring the total arms financing to 2.5 billion euros. The bloc in recent months has agreed to several rounds of arms financing for Ukraine under the so-called European Peace Facility, which reimburses governments for military deliveries to Ukraine.

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