Russia has paid $117 million to meet its interest-payment deadline. The coupon payments on two sovereign bonds should have then been routed from correspondent bank JPMorgan to a London branch of Citigroup for processing payments to bondholders. Neither Citi nor Russia’s Ministry of Finance would comment on the status of the payments, but The Wall Street Journal said the bondholders’ payments arrived on Thursday, “a day late, but well within the 30-day grace period granted under the terms of the bonds.”
In a sign of other difficulties facing financial services firms, Bank of New York Mellon said Wednesday that it expects to lose $100 million in first-quarter revenue after pulling out of Russia. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the bank said it has stopped taking new business in Russia and “suspended investment management purchases of Russian securities. In addition to the first-quarter loss, the bank says it expects an annual revenue reduction of $80 million to $100 million.
More than 400 U.S. companies have withdrawn from Russia since the invasion of Ukraine began on February 24. The list is prepared by Jeffrey Sonnenfeld and Steven Tian of Yale’s School of Management and now separates companies into those that withdraw completely, those the suspend operations but keep future options open, those that reduce some though not all operations, and those that defy demands to take any action against Russia.
There are no signs that Vladimir Putin is prepared to end his war on Ukraine, according to Secretary of State Antony Blinken. On Thursday, Blinken said:
Again today, we have a strong sense of what Russia could do next.
We believe that Moscow may be setting the stage to use a chemical weapon, and then falsely blame Ukraine to justify escalating its attacks on the Ukrainian people.
Manufacturing events and creating false narratives of genocide to justify greater use of military force is a tactic that Russia has used before, including in Georgia.
We believe Russia will bring its mercenaries from private military groups and foreign countries to Ukraine.
President Putin acknowledged as much over the weekend when he authorized the recruitment of additional forces from the Middle East and elsewhere – another indication that his war effort is not going as he hoped it would.
They are also likely to systematically kidnap local officials and replace them with puppets.
Again, this has already begun.
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