FirstFT: Russia launches ferocious attack on Ukrainian city of Kharkiv

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Russian forces have launched an intensive bombardment of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, eclipsing the first direct talks between the warring sides since President Vladimir Putin invaded the country five days ago.

Moscow’s military operation failed to overthrow the Ukrainian government or capture major cities, but it uprooted hundreds of thousands of civilians who fled to neighboring countries.

The latest artillery barrage marked a horrific escalation in Russia’s tactics and analysts have warned it may just be a taste of the worst to come.

The impact of Western sanctions is hitting the Russian economy, with the central bank more than doubling interest rates yesterday to stabilize financial markets and a growing number of Russians considering emigration.

Follow the latest developments on our live blog and follow the conflict in the cards.

Thank you for reading FirstFT Europe/Africa. To keep you up to date with everything happening in Ukraine, register here to receive the essential newsletter from my colleague Valentina Pop, EuropeExpress — Jennifer

1. British energy producer to sell North Sea gas to Gazprom London-listed gas producer IOG will sell gas produced from one of the newest fields in the North Sea to a Gazprom subsidiary even as Western companies are under pressure to cut trade relations with Russia .

2. Risks from climate change are greater than expected: IPCC report Landmark UN report says world has ‘brief and rapidly closing’ window to adapt to climate change, with risks associated with lower levels of warming greater than previously thought .

3. Turkish opposition presents pact to defeat Erdogan Six opposition parties have pledged to overhaul the country’s electoral laws and institutions by signing a “historic” pact aimed at ending President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s nearly two decades in power.

4. UK participation in OneWeb’s “no warranty” production will shift from US The satellite company’s biggest shareholder has warned he cannot guarantee the company will be able to manufacture in the UK, despite Downing Street’s ambitions to use its $500m investment in the business to stimulate a national space industry.

5. KKR co-founders get $100 million each Henry Kravis and George Roberts each earned more than $100 million in 2021 as buoyant financial markets boosted the private equity group’s earnings.

Summary of coronavirus

  • the from the EU The pandemic strategy attempts to bring pharmaceutical companies and civil society together, but campaigners decry its failure to provide equal access to vaccines.

  • The corpses pile up that of Hong Kong hospitals and public morgues as the number of Covid-19 cases soars in the territory. The city’s airport is disappearing from radar, says Primrose Riordan.

  • Opinion: The UK has entered the ‘living with Covid’ phase of the pandemic, but is lagging behind other countries in helping sick workers, writes Sarah O’Connor.

The day ahead

World leaders discuss Ukraine At an emergency meeting of the International Energy Agency, the United States and its allies will discuss the release of oil from its strategic stocks after prices rose above $100 a barrel. Boris Johnson and UK government officials will also travel to Estonia and Poland to discuss the Ukraine crisis with their counterparts and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Separately, G7 finance ministers will meet to discuss the implementation of sanctions against Russia.

  • On the stairs : Russia’s central bank will decide whether to open trading on the Moscow Stock Exchange after the suspension of trading in stocks and derivatives. Ukraine plans to announce a new “war bond” auction on the same day.

  • In Hungary: The country’s opposition will protest against Russian “influence”.

Former White House officials in Taiwan A high-level delegation has been sent to the island with a message of reassurance and to remind China not to step up pressure on Taipei while Washington deals with the Ukraine crisis.

business profits Flutter, the world’s largest listed gambling group, will publish its annual results and analysts expect changes to UK laws, such as a £500 limit for players under 25 and the ban on credit cards, have held back growth. Profits also came out for technology company Safesforce.com and insurer Swiss Life. See our full list here.

PMI data The Institute for Supply Management surveys of purchasing managers are planned for the Eurozone, France, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, United States and Canada. US manufacturing activity likely expanded as the latest Omicron wave subsided. The data will be released the same day as Italy and Canada release gross domestic product figures for February, while Germany will release retail sales and CPI data. Explore inflation rates around the world with our inflation tracker. (FT, WSJ)

State of the Union Address in the United States President Joe Biden will deliver the annual address to a joint session of Congress in Washington.

What else we read

Why UK employment relations are heating up With wages not rising as fast as inflation, workers from universities to the London Underground are going on strike, fueled by a sense of injustice not only in wages, but also for a safe working environment .

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The best bet for the 2020s is tech short, commodities long Silicon Valley fads tend to fizzle out when investors realize they’ve poured money into unprofitable ideas, writes Ruchir Sharma, vshair from Rockefeller International. And historically, technology and commodities follow opposite cycles.

Cutting-edge technology for commuting — and back Returned to the office? Here are our top picks of gear worth splurging on to make your ride more enjoyable. From headphones to bikes, mugs and more.

Food and drink

From New York to Berlin and beyond, here’s the FT editors’ pick of the world’s best independent cafes. What’s your favorite cafe in your city? Tell us at [email protected]om and we can submit your response.

Bonanza coffee roasters, Berlin © Bonanza

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