Kyiv rocked by explosions as Russian air strikes intensify

Kyiv rocked by explosions as Russian air strikes intensify

Kyiv residents take shelter inside a metro station during an air raid alert amid Russian missile attacks earlier this month © Alina Smutko/Reuters

Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv was rocked by more than a dozen explosions around 3am on Tuesday, about a half-hour after air raid sirens went off nationwide warning that Russia’s invading forces were resuming air strikes on the country.

Financial Times correspondents heard multiple blasts, marking one of the loudest barrages to hit the city in recent months. Details of damage and casualties were not immediately clear.

Andriy Yermak, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s chief of staff, said in a social media statement that “air defences are working on targets”.

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US to announce tougher sanctions over Iranian drone sales to Russia

The US said on Monday that tougher sanctions would be imposed over the transfer of Iranian drones to Russia for use in the invasion of Ukraine. 

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said new details of Russia-Iran cooperation have emerged, including plans to sell more advanced aircraft to Russia. Since August Iran has already provided 400 drones and Russia has expended most of them.

Iran in turn is seeking billions of dollars’ worth of military equipment from Russia, including fighter jets and attack helicopters, Kirby said. 

He added the US would hold those participating in the trade accountable as well as announce “new steps” to help governments and businesses better understand risks posed by Iran’s drone programme. 

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What to watch in Asia today

US commerce secretary Gina Raimondo throws a ceremonial first pitch at a baseball game between the Washington Nationals and the Chicago Cubs earlier this month © Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

US-China: US secretary of state Antony Blinken, defence secretary Lloyd Austin and commerce secretary Gina Raimondo will testify at Senate appropriations committee hearing on the US-China relationship.

Data: China issues April retail sales, industrial output and unemployment data. The Reserve Bank of Australia publishes minutes of its most recent monetary policy meeting. Westpac issues its latest Australian consumer sentiment figures.

Earnings: Singaporean tech group Sea, Singapore Airlines and Chinese search company Baidu release earnings.

Events: Industry group Airports Council International opens its first Asia-Pacific regional conference and exhibition since the coronavirus pandemic began in Kobe, Japan. Carlyle Asia concludes its two-day investor meeting at the Four Seasons, Hong Kong.

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Ukraine anti-corruption bodies allege Supreme Court graft scheme

Ukraine’s anti-corruption bodies said that they uncovered graft at the country’s Supreme Court.

The country’s anti-corruption bureau and specialised anti-graft prosecutor’s office said in a joint statement on Monday that they had “exposed large-scale corruption in the Supreme Court, namely a scheme for receiving undue benefits by the leadership and judges of the Supreme Court”.

The groups said in a statement posted on social media that “Urgent investigative actions are currently under way. Details later.” The post included photographs of large piles of cash on a couch.

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Elon Musk subpoenaed by US Virgin Islands as part of Epstein suit

The US Virgin Islands said it had attempted to serve Elon Musk with a subpoena on multiple occasions in recent weeks © Ludovic Marin/AFP via Reuters

Elon Musk has been subpoenaed over documents by lawyers seeking to ascertain if he was introduced to JPMorgan Chase by the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

In a filing on Monday, the US Virgin Islands, which is suing JPMorgan over its alleged role in financing Epstein’s human trafficking operation in the territory, said it had attempted to serve the Tesla chief executive on multiple occasions in recent weeks.

Lawyers for the USVI said the request for documents were made because Musk is “a high-net-worth individual who Epstein may have referred or attempted to refer to JPMorgan”.

A lawyer for Musk did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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US to begin refilling strategic oil reserves after stockpile drained

The US will start refilling its strategic oil reserves in the coming months after President Joe Biden’s administration drained the stockpile over the past year to keep a lid on prices in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Department of Energy on Monday opened a solicitation process for companies to submit proposals to sell 3mn barrels of crude into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

The announcement comes after energy secretary Jennifer Granholm indicated last month that purchases would begin in the second half of the year after a long period of drawdowns that has left the reserves at their lowest level since the early 1980s. 

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US stocks make gains but debt ceiling remains in focus

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index rose 0.7% on Monday, while Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 added 0.3% © Spencer Platt/Getty Images

US stocks were subdued on Monday as investors awaited news about debt ceiling negotiations and assessed fresh data pointing to a cooling economy.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index rose 0.7 per cent, extending its gains from the previous week, while Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 added 0.3 per cent.

The moves in US equities came as traders were looking ahead to a breakthrough between the White House and Republican lawmakers in talks to raise the federal borrowing limit and avoid a national default, ahead of President Joe Biden’s meeting with Congressional leaders on Tuesday.

Read more on markets here.

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