Russia-Ukraine update: Disney, Uniqlo, JP Morgan, Goldman look to exit Russia; EU remains divided over Ukraine bloc membership

Russia-Ukraine update: Disney, Uniqlo, JP Morgan, Goldman look to exit Russia; EU remains divided over Ukraine bloc membership
FILE PHOTO: A person is carried out after the destruction of Mariupol children’s hospital as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, in Mariupol, Ukraine, March 9, 2022 in this still image from a handout video obtained by Reuters. Ukraine Military/Handout via REUTERS

On Thursday, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said that it would provide 2 billion euros (US$2.2 billion) to help Ukraine. This is as Zelenskiy’s chief economic adviser said that the Russian invasion has led to US$100 billion in damage in assets and infrastructure.

Europe is struggling with an influx of refugees. The Czech Republic Social Affairs Minister Marian Jurecka said, “If more millions are coming, countries like us, Poland or Slovakia, simply cannot manage on our own.”

Disney, Uniqlo, JP Morgan and Goldman are all suspending or winding down their Russian business. For Uniqlo, this comes after the CEO said that they wouldn’t stop operating in Russia. In terms of banks, Goldman pulled the plug first, and JP followed. Neither banks have a huge presence in the country.

Russia Ukraine
Source: David Solomon’s LinkedIn

Ukraine and Russia met again for 90 minutes in another round of talks but made no headway. Russia says: “Nobody was going to agree to a cease-fire today,” and that Putin will only meet with Zelenskiy if Russia can see progress being possible. Ukraine said, “The broad narrative he conveyed to me is that they will continue their aggression until Ukraine meets their demands, and the least of these demands is surrender.”

In response to the sanctions, Putin said during a televised government meeting that Russia would come out stronger. “These sanctions would have been imposed in any case. There are some questions, problems and difficulties but in the past we have overcome them, and we will overcome them now. In the end, this will all lead to an increase in our independence, self-sufficiency and our sovereignty."

The EU is torn about how to deal with Ukraine’s request not just to enter the bloc but have it happen ASAP. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said, “There is no such thing as a fast track [for membership]. EU accession of Ukraine is something for the long term, if at all.”

But Croatia said at a joint press conference with Zelenskiy, “We are among the countries advocating the European perspective of Ukraine and supporting its European reform processes. We think that is the best way for its internal consolidation, for improving living standards for Ukrainians and harmonizing the social market economy.”

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said that Russia defaulting on its debt is no longer “an improbable event.”

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