The Russian Central Bank decided in a meeting Tuesday to raise the key interest rate by 3.5 percentage points to 12 percent — a large hike that comes after the ruble fell to its lowest point in 17 months, briefly sliding past 102 to the dollar on Monday. The Russian currency has lost almost a quarter of its value against the dollar since the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.
A missile flew into the yard of a kindergarten in Lviv during the Russian attack against the city, Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi said on Telegram. More than 100 apartments were damaged in the strikes, which left four people in need of medical assistance, though their lives were not in danger, according to Sadovyi. The Washington Post could not independently verify the reports.
Three people were also injured in the strikes against Lutsk, Mayor Ihor Polishchuk said on Telegram. Emergency service crews were on-site at the industrial plant, Polishchuk added.
The U.S. ambassador to Russia, Lynne Tracy, met with jailed Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich on Monday at Lefortovo Prison in Moscow, the newspaper reported. Gershkovich appeared to be in good health and remains strong, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow told the Journal after the meeting — the third since his arrest in March on espionage charges that he, his employer, rights groups and the U.S. government have rejected as spurious.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had “frank conversations” with troops during a visit Monday to the front line in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region, amid the ongoing counteroffensive that has yielded few visible gains so far and left many Ukrainians exhausted from Russian attacks. “We talked about our offensive, about supplies to the troops, about the capabilities of commanders, about what these capabilities are now and what they should be,” Zelensky said of the visit in his nightly address.
China’s defense minister is set to speak at a conference in Moscow as part of a visit to Russia and Belarus, according to the Chinese Defense Ministry. Li Shangfu is expected to speak at the Moscow Conference on International Security on Tuesday and meet with Russian defense officials. In Minsk, Li is scheduled to meet and hold talks with Belarusian state and military leaders, as well as visit Belarusian military institutions. It will be Li Shangfu’s first trip to Belarus and second to Russia since he took office this year. Beijing and Moscow have deepened their partnership in recent years, though China has refrained from taking sides publicly in the war in Ukraine.
More than 20 Russian diplomats and their families left Moldova on Monday, local media reported, weeks after the country asked Russia to reduce its staff in the capital, Chisinau, amid deteriorating ties between the two countries. Russia’s Foreign Ministry called it an “unfriendly step” that will adversely affect relations.
A Russian MiG-29 fighter jet prevented a Norwegian air force patrol and reconnaissance plane from crossing the Russian border, over the Barents Sea, on Monday, the Russian state media agency Tass reported, citing the Defense Ministry. “The foreign aircraft turned away from the Russian border as the Russian fighter jet approached,” the statement said.
A Chechen battalion continues to take part in the fighting around Orhikiv, in northern Zaporizhzhia, as a recent post by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov illustrates, the British Defense Ministry said in a daily intelligence update. On Aug. 10, Kadyrov “acknowledged the efforts of the Chechen Vostok Akhmat Battalion in the heavily contested Orhikiv sector” in Zaporizhzhia, one of four Ukrainian regions that Russia illegally claimed to annex last year. While “Chechen forces comprise a relatively small but high-profile component of Russian forces in Ukraine,” the ministry said, “Kadyrov likely heavily promotes his units’ roles partially to burnish his credentials as a Putin loyalist.”
The ruble takes a dive, underscoring pressure on Russia’s war economy: The Russian currency has lost almost a quarter of its value against the dollar since the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, report Francesca Ebel and Isabelle Khurshudyan. Russia’s Central Bank said the ruble’s fall would not impact the country’s overall financial stability and blamed the situation on uneven trade balance, which has been impacted by Western sanctions.
The new drop was part of a “permanent trend of depreciation” and acceleration, said Oleg Itskhoki, a professor of economics at the University of California at Los Angeles, rather than a spontaneous crisis. “Perhaps the current acceleration will lead to a tsunami depreciation, but this has not happened in the past,” he said.