Ukrainian Commander Says The Port City Is Facing Unrelenting Attacks, While Another Official Tells CNN That Russia Controls 80% Of Luhansk Region

Ukrainian Commander Says The Port City Is Facing Unrelenting Attacks, While Another Official Tells CNN That Russia Controls 80% Of Luhansk Region

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7 min agoUkraine estimates it needs $5 billion per month to keep economy functioning, IMF managing director saysFrom CNN’s Livvy Doherty in London

Ukraine’s Ministry of Finance has estimated it will take $5 billion a month to keep the economy functioning, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said Wednesday.

“We have been engaged very closely with the Ministry of Finance on the estimates they have provided or what would be necessary to retain the functioning of the economy over the next three months and they came up with the number of $5 billion a month,” she said.

Speaking as part of the IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings in DC, Georgieva said there was some “uncertainty” around this number, but it was unlikely to be outside the financial needs of the country, and that the IMF was working with its partners to mobilize “that kind of support.”

The IMF managing director added that they were already discussing a followup package of support with Ukraine and stressed that “high uncertainty” should not prevent them starting work on this new package. 

Georgieva and World Bank President David Malpass are expected to meet with the Ukrainian prime minister and finance minister on Thursday to discuss further aid. 

Asked if $5 billion a month was a firm commitment from the fund, Georgieva said they were going to discuss this with the partners but added it was important to look at filling the financial gap with grant financing. When it came to fund support, Georgieva said it wasn’t “wise” to bring the new package in “while the hostilities are still ongoing because it is unfair to expect from Ukrainian authorities to develop and implement a far ranging package of reforms at this time.”

12 min agoHowitzer ammo has arrived in Europe for Ukraine, senior US defense official saysFrom CNN’s Ellie Kaufman

Howitzer rounds, a type of artillery ammunition, have arrived in Europe to be sent to Ukraine, a senior US defense official told reporters Wednesday. The Howitzer rounds started arriving yesterday, and there will be “more arriving today and in the coming days,” the official said. In the most recent $800 million drawdown package signed last week, the US said it will send 40,000 of them total.

Training of Ukrainians on how to use the Howitzer “has begun,” the official said. The training of about 50 Ukrainians is happening in a country outside of Ukraine, but the official would not say which country it’s taking place in. 

“This is to train the trainers, it’s a smallish number of Ukrainians, little bit more than 50, they will get trained on how to use the Howitzers and then they’ll be able to go back into Ukraine and train their colleagues,” the official said.Shipments of aid for Ukraine from the US continue to arrive in Europe. In the last 24 hours, about four flights of aid shipments arrived in the region, the official said. These shipments are funded by the most recent $800 million presidential drawdown package, the official added.

10 min agoGermany will phase out Russian oil imports “by the end of the year,” foreign minister says From CNN’s Benjamin Brown in London and Chris Liakos in Paris

Germany will phase out Russian oil imports “by the end of the year,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Wednesday.

“Germany will completely phase out Russian energy imports,” Baerbock said. Oil imports “will be halved by the summer” and phased out entirely and “at 0 by the end of the year,” she added.Speaking at a news conference in Riga with Baltic Foreign Ministers, Baerbock reiterated that coal imports would be phased out by the end of the summer. Gas imports would be phased out over a longer timeframe, she added.

A spokesperson for Germany’s Economy Ministry told CNN that Germany wants to achieve independence from Russian energy imports division by division and step by step, projecting independence from Russian oil by the end of the year.

Earlier this month, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had said he believed Germany would be able to end imports this year but added it would take the country longer to wean itself off Russian gas. 

According to a joint economic forecast by five leading German economic research institutes, in the event of an immediate interruption to Russian gas supplies, a total of 220 billion euros ($238 billion) in German economic output would be at risk in both 2022 and 2023. This would be equivalent to more than 6.5% of Germany’s annual economic output.

7 min agoUS was notified ahead of Russian missile test and tracked it closely, officials sayFrom CNN’s Barbara Starr and Michael Conte

The United States was aware through international notification agreements that Russia was planning the intercontinental ballistic missile test ahead of Wednesday’s launch, according to two US officials.

The US knew of the launch window and tracked the missile and was not concerned, the officials said.

Both Russia and the US — under an existing international agreement — notify other nations of tests to avoid any incidents.

The US assesses this missile is not yet operational in Russian inventory, the sources said.

“Such testing is routine, and it was not a surprise,” said Pentagon press secretary John Kirby in off-camera comments to reporters.

Kirby said the US “did not deem the test to be a threat to the United States, or its allies.”

“The department remains focused on Russia’s unlawful and unprovoked aggression against Ukraine,” said Kirby.

Earlier: The Russian defense ministry announced that it had conducted a test launch of its intercontinental ballistic missile, the Sarmat.

The missile was fired from a silo launcher at 3:12 p.m. Moscow time at the Plesetsk State Test Cosmodrome in the Arkhangelsk Region of northern Russia toward the Kura test site on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia’s far east.

The defense ministry’s statement said that it landed in the “designated area in Kamchatka.”

42 min ago120,000 people remain in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol, President Zelensky saysFrom CNN’s Eleanor Pickston and Anastasia Graham-Yooll 

Evacuees board a bus to leave the city of Mariupol on April 20. (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)Some 120,000 people remain trapped in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Wednesday. 

“According to our information, they are keeping 120,000 people i

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Ukrainian commander says the port city is facing unrelenting attacks, while another official tells CNN that Russia controls 80% of Luhansk region

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