State of the Russian economy. The ruble exchange rate reached record lows – 122 rubles to the euro and 109 rubles to the dollar – on Wednesday. This comes as a number of international companies have decided to halt operations in Russia. The Ford Sollers auto plant in Tatarstan suspended its operations, and Honda and Mazda stopped deliveries of cars and components to Russia. German carmaker BMW announced on Tuesday that it stopped exporting vehicles to Russia and that it would halt production at an assembly plant in Kaliningrad. ExxonMobil said it will not invest in new developments with Russia. (Relatedly, oil prices reached a seven-year high on Wednesday, trading at roughly $110 per barrel.) Apple, meanwhile, suspended sales at its Russian stores.
No access. Several countries have started blocking port access to Russian vessels. The U.K. government passed a law banning Russian-linked ships, which include Russian-flagged vessels as well as those owned and operated by firms with Russian interests, from British ports. The Canadian government also announced it would close access to Russian-owned ships. And Malaysia’s Transport Ministry denied port entry for a Russian-flagged oil tanker included on a U.S. sanctions list that was set to arrive at Kuala Linggi International Port on March 5.
Sanctions on Belarus. The French presidency of the EU said the bloc’s diplomats approved new sanctions against Belarus for its involvement in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The package will target Belarusian officials, the military and the economic sector, particularly the wood, steel and potash industries. The decision comes after Britain imposed similar sanctions against Belarus targeting Belarus’ chief of the General Staff and two military enterprises.
More drones for Ukraine. Ukraine’s Defense Ministry announced on Wednesday that it received more Bayraktat TB2s, the Turkish-made combat unmanned aerial vehicle. Its defense minister said the drones were already in combat position.
Support for Taiwan. A delegation of former U.S. defense and security officials arrived in Taiwan on Wednesday and met with the island’s president, Tsai Ing-wen. China condemned the visit.
Turkish-Kyrgyz relations. The defense ministers of Turkey and Kyrgyzstan met in Ankara to discuss regional issues and bilateral relations. They signed a roadmap for cooperation on military and military-technical matters. Meanwhile, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry marked the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations with Kazakhstan by saying it would continue to support the stability and prosperity of the country.