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US Says Putin Struggles, Swapping Out Generals

(Bloomberg) — Russia’s military is still struggling in Ukraine, as President Vladimir Putin “continues to change generals the way I swap socks,” John Kirby, spokesman for the US National Security Council, told reporters.

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Ukraine is going through ammunition “many times higher” than allies’ current rate of production, straining industries, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said ahead of a defense ministers meeting Tuesday. The waiting time for large-caliber ammunition has increased from 12 to 28 months, which means that orders placed now won’t be delivered until two-and-a-half years later, he said.

An International Monetary Fund mission started talks Monday with Ukrainian officials as the fund weighs a multiyear aid package worth as much as $16 billion to provide a catalyst for more financial assistance. The government in Kyiv is seeking a full loan package after securing a deal in December for a provisional four-month monitoring program.

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

Key Developments

  • EU Is Set to Propose New Sanctions on Russian Tech and Vehicles

  • British Embassy Guard Spied for Russia for Cash, Court Told

  • EU Says Russia Was Forced Into Oil Production Cuts

  • Moldovan Leader Accuses Russia of Ouster Plot in Security Push

  • JPMorgan to Help Ukraine on Debt Capital Markets, Reconstruction

On The Ground

Russian troops continued to mount attacks mostly in eastern areas around Kupyansk, Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiyivka and Novopavlivka, according to Ukraine’s General Staff. Ukrainian troops repelled attacks near 11 settlements in the Kharkiv, Donetsk, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia regions, it said in a statement on Facebook. Russia remains concerned about guarding the extremities of its extended front line, despite the current operational focus on central Donbas, according to the latest intelligence update from the UK’s defense ministry.

(All times CET)

‘Russia’s Military Is Still Struggling,’ US Spokesman Says (8:15 pm)

Russia’s war in Ukraine is hobbled by Putin’s unsound decisions, logistics and sustainment problems, difficulty coordinating attacks and weaknesses in unit cohesion, spokesman Kirby told reporters at the White House.

“The Russian military is still struggling,” Kirby said. “They have not overcome these problems. And it’s borne out by the fact that, you know, he continues to change generals the way I change socks.”

JPMorgan to Help Ukraine on Debt Capital Markets (5 pm)

JPMorgan Chase & Co. will provide consulting services to Ukraine on areas including its sovereign credit rating and managing the government’s liquidity. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and members of JPMorgan’s asset management division and investment bank signed a memorandum of understanding that will see the Wall Street bank advise Ukraine on reconstruction.

NATO’s Stoltenberg Says Spy Balloons Show Need for Vigilance (1:30 pm)

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that incidents of spy balloons in NATO airspace is an indication that allies need to step up cooperation.

“It’s part of a pattern where China, but also Russia, are increasing their intelligence and surveillance of NATO allies,” Stoltenberg said. “That highlights the importance of our vigilance, increased presence and also that we ramp up, and step up how we share intelligence and how we monitor and protect our airspace.”

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Russia’s New Offensive Has Already Started, NATO Chief Says (1:20 pm)

Stoltenberg said that Russia’s expected increased offensive has already started and that Putin has shown no willingness to de-escalate the war.

“We’ve seen the start already,” Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels. “What Russia does now is to send in thousands and thousands of more troops, taking big losses but putting pressure on Ukrainians.” He added that it is imperative for allies to supply Ukraine with more weapons.

Deputy Ukrainian PM Warns on Foot-Dragging (12:45 pm)

Any delay by western nations in taking decisions about helping Ukraine will lead to additional and unnecessary deaths of the country’s citizens and destruction of its infrastructure, according to Olha Stefanishyna, a deputy prime minister in the government in Kyiv.

“The basic headline of the message that we Ukrainians are bringing to Europe and around the globe is that whatever action could be taken it should be taken now and it’s urgent,” Stefanishyna said at an event in Berlin previewing this week’s Munich Security Conference.

Ukraine Bonds at Three-Month Low (11:45 am)

Ukraine’s foreign-currency bonds and GDP warrants fell to the lowest since November after Moody’s cut the country’s credit rating to the second-lowest score, Ca, on a par with Argentina.

The agency cited “long-lasting challenges” to Ukraine’s economy and public finances in its announcement published Friday.

China’s Wang to Attend Munich Conference (11:30 am)

China’s top foreign policy official, Wang Yi, will attend this week’s Munich Security Conference with a large delegation, while Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has not been invited this time, according to organizers.

“We won’t offer Lavrov, who is really only the loudspeaker of President Vladimir Putin, a forum for his propaganda,” MSC Chairman Christoph Heusgen told reporters in Berlin. Heusgen left it open whether Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy might attend as a last-minute “surprise guest.”

(A previous version corrected an erroneous timestamp on the map)

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