Ukraine war updates: U.S. reportedly urges Kyiv to cease strikes on Russian oil refineries; IMF approves $880 million loan payment for Ukraine

Kharkiv faced several of power outages Friday after Russian missile strikes appeared to target Ukrainian energy infrastructure, according to Mayor Ihor Terekhov.

In a series of posts on Telegram, Terekhov said there were around 15 blasts overnight, which also caused disruption to water supplies and transport systems. He did not report any casualties.

— Karen Gilchrist

In this photo International Monetary Fund (IMF) logo is seen in Washington D.C., United States on April 11, 2023.

Celal Gunes | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The International Monetary Fund on Thursday approved a third review of Ukraine’s $15.6 billion loan program, allowing the embattled country to draw budget support of $880 million and bringing total disbursements to $5.4 billion.

The global lender said Ukraine’s economy showed “remarkable resilience” in 2023 but noted that risks remain from Russia’s ongoing onslaught. However, Ukraine mission chief Gavin Gray told reporters the fund still expected the war in Ukraine to wind down by the end of 2024, according to Reuters.

The IMF funding, which is due to arrive in the coming days, follows a tranche on EU funding received Wednesday. It comes as a U.S. funding bill remains held up in Congress.

— Karen Gilchrist

Washington has reportedly urged Kyiv to cease drone strikes on Russian energy infrastructure, cautioning that the attacks risk driving up global oil prices, sources familiar with the discussions told the FT.

One source said the White House had grown increasingly irritated with brazen Ukrainian drone attacks on Russian refineries, terminals and storage facilities.

The warnings were delivered to Ukraine’s state security service and its military intelligence directorate, according to the reports — both of which have ramped up their drone strikes on Russian targets on land, sea and air.

Despite Western sanctions, Russia remains one of the world’s most important energy exporters, and U.S. officials expressed concerns that such strikes could result in retaliatory attacks on Western energy infrastructure.

— Karen Gilchrist

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban congratulated Russian President Vladimir Putin on his reelection, state news agency MTI reported on Thursday.

According to the agency, Orban wrote in a letter that cooperation between Hungary and Russia was “based on mutual respect, allowing the discussion of important issues even in the current very difficult geopolitical situation.”

— Reuters

Russia’s production of artillery and weapons has grown substantially, the defense ministry said on Thursday following an inspection of several factories by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

In a Telegram post translated by CNBC via Google Translate, Shoigu was quoted as having said that artillery production has grown by nearly two and a half times since existing factories were expanded and new ones were opened.

The production of components for ammunition has increased close to 22 times, Shoigu further said, while one factory he visited produced five times more artillery and aviation weapons now than they did previously, according to the ministry.

Russian defense spending has soared since the war began, boosting the country’s economy which has fared far better than many observers previously expected. This may however not last, Radoslaw Sikorski, Poland’s minister of foreign affairs, told CNBC Tuesday.

Success in Ukraine is now a matter of U.S. credibility, Polish foreign minister says

“If you put your economy on a crisis or war footing, your GDP rises because you are producing more shells and tanks and all the things that are going to get destroyed, but you’re also wasting the resources and the wealth of your country, and this has limits,” he said.

— Sophie Kiderlin

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