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Ukraine Recap: Ready for Offensive; Contentious Cease-Fire Idea

Volodymyr Zelenskiy told the Wall Street Journal that Ukraine is ready for its counteroffensive against Russia, but downplayed the prospects for rapid success and warned of potential heavy casualties. He also called on a “signal” on NATO’s intentions heading into the military alliance’s summit in Vilnius next month, and said he feared a less-supportive US administration after the 2024 election. 

Russia’s invasion was a major focus of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. Indonesia’s defense minister floated a cease-fire proposal that would involve freezing Russian and Ukrainian forces in current positions and creating a demilitarized zone. Ukrainian defense chief Oleksii Reznikov said it “sounds like a Russian plan.” A cease-fire without Kremlin troop withdrawals “will allow Russia to win time,” Ukraine’s foreign ministry said.

Ukraine protested after a Hungarian government website showed a video in which the Crimean peninsula was labeled as part of Russia, a new point of tension between the neighbors. Russian officials said two people were killed by shelling in the Belgorod region near Ukraine’s northeast border. Russia has blamed Ukraine for the increasing cross-border skirmishes. 

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Coming Up

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Oil climbed on Friday alongside risk assets, with attention focusing on the OPEC+ deliberations, but is still on pace for a weekly decline amid worries about demand. 

Wheat prices rose for a third day, extending a rebound from a more than two-year low set earlier in the week tied to booming crops in northern and eastern Europe that could push world production to a new record. 

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.

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