🇺🇦 Слава Україні*

Today marks the first year anniversary of Putin's invasion of Ukraine. Eurozone inflation eases. UK approves plans for independent football regulator.


* Glory to Ukraine

Good morning. Today is Friday, February 24th.

It has been one year since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine. Putin called it a “special military operation” but it has been a year of war, and countless attacks on Ukraine's territory, causing massive scales of destruction, death, and displacement to the people of the country. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy mourned those who were lost, and said, "We have overcome many ordeals and we will prevail." 

– Özlem, with Tanem and Atilla

Aposto Europe

Aposto Europe

The news, every weekday at 07:30 (CET), with a distinctly European perspective. Your briefing on markets, politics, business, tech and more — under 5 minutes


Eurozone inflation eased to 8.6% in January from 9.2% a month earlier, with the core CPI, excluding food and energy, reaching 5.3%—both exceeding the estimates of 8.5% and 5.2%, respectively. The results are widely regarded as having confirmed that price growth is now well past its peak, with the market pricing a 50bps ECB rate hike in March as planned.

  • In other news: The European Central Bank (ECB) recorded a loss of €1.6 billion in 2022, as interest rate hikes forced the bank to write down the value of some bonds, annual accounts showed. Most of the loss came from writedowns in the ECB's relatively small own-funds and USD portfolio, and from the interest it paid to central banks of eurozone member countries, Reuters reported.

• The Group of Seven (G7) nations —Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US— raised economic support to Ukraine to $39 billion in 2023, the bloc's current president Japan said in a statement. The bloc also urged a $15 billion IMF program to secure immediate financial assistance for the country by the end of March.

Turkish Central Bank (TCMB) slashed its policy rate by 50bps to 8.5%, in a follow-up to the unorthodox monetary policy that dramatically weakened the Turkish currency last year and pushed the country’s inflation rates to record highs. The country announced an annual inflation rate of 57.68% in January. The Turkish lira held steady at 18.87 against USD following the decision.

  • On a related note: The devastating earthquake, which killed more than 43,000 people in Turkey, is set to cost the Turkish economy some $50 billion and will keep inflation somewhere in the range of 40-50%, a government official said—as the quake will cause a surge in prices of goods and services, including food and housing, and central bank data showed that net reserves dropped $7 billion since the quake.

Weekly jobless claims in the US fell 3,000 to 192,000, beating estimates of 200,000; while continuing claims dropped 37,000 to 1.65 million according to data from the Labor Department. Economists have long argued that the big job cuts by Twitter, Microsoft, Amazon and Meta were not representative of the overall economy, Reuters reported.


Alibaba posted better-than-expected quarterly earnings, with net income up 69% and revenue up 2% YoY even as the company lost $600 billion in market share since October 2020 due to strict Covid-19 control policies in China. Shares in Alibaba opened up 6% in New York following the news.

Italian energy major Eni filed an adjusted net profit of €2.5 billion for 2022 Q4, reporting its highest yearly net profit in at least a decade. Presenting its strategy for the next three years, Eni said it would continue to increase oil and gas production, raise capital spending, double share buybacks and boost next year’s dividend by 7%.

The UK government confirmed plans to set up an independent regulator to oversee Premier League clubs, with the ability to prevent clubs from joining “breakaway, closed-shop” tournaments such as 2021's European Super League; also seeking to ramp up the vetting process of club owners, imposing “stronger due diligence on sources of wealth and a requirement for robust financial planning.”

Mercedes-Benz has teamed up with Google on navigation and will offer "super computer-like performance" in every car with automated driving sensors. Mercedes said the collaboration would allow it to offer traffic information and automatic rerouting in its cars. Many automakers are seeking to compete with Tesla by adopting software-powered features pioneered by the EV company.

Toyota and Honda both decided to give their employees in Japan the biggest pay rise in decades. Toyota said it will meet union demands for pay and bonuses, with wages increasing by the most in 20 years, while Honda told the BBC that it had "fully answered" union requests and will raise salaries by 5%, marking the biggest increase since 1990. Japan's rate of inflation last month was at its highest level in over 40 years.


Sam Bankman-Fried was hit with four new criminal charges on Thursday in an expanded indictment in New York federal court that provides new details on Bankman-Fried’s allegedly fraudulent conduct related to his cryptocurrency company FTX.

Sam Bankman-Fried

  • Punchline: The indictment accuses Bankman-Fried of conspiring to make more than 300 illegal political donations “to purchase influence over cryptocurrency regulation in Washington, D.C”.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and New York's top financial regulator opposed crypto exchange Binance.US's $1 billion deal to buy bankrupt crypto lender Voyager. The Voyager deal may violate laws on the unregistered offer and sale of securities, the SEC said, in the latest in a series of US regulatory moves against crypto.

The European Commission banned staff from using TikTok due to security concerns over the short video app’s data collection practices. Employees were ordered to delete the app from mobile phones and corporate devices, including personal devices that use commission apps. 

  • Zoom out: The decision follows the US Congress’ restriction of TikTok from federal government devices over similar concerns around its Chinese parent company ByteDance.

The European Commission launched a consultation on who should foot the bill for billions of euros of investments in Europe's telecoms network. 

  • Behind the scenes: While telecom operators have lobbied for leading technology companies to contribute to 5G and broadband roll-out as they account for heavy internet traffic, Meta and other Big Tech companies said regulators should acknowledge their investments. The consultation will end on May 19.

Apple hit major milestones on a noninvasive and continuous blood glucose monitoring for its watch. This secret project, dubbed E5, aims to measure how much glucose is in someone’s body without needing to prick the skin for blood. 

Apple Watch

  • Looking ahead… Apple now believes it could eventually bring glucose monitoring to market, potentially a breakthrough benefitting diabetics and establishing the company’s place in the healthcare sector.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy paid tribute to those who died since Russia launched an invasion into Ukraine 12 months ago, reflecting on the effects of war a day before the invasion's year anniversary. Meanwhile, Ukrainian intelligence announced a warning that they expect missile attacks to coincide with the anniversary.

Pedro Sanchez and Volodymyr Zelenskiy

  • Highlights: Laying stress that "This is in the interests of Ukraine today," President Zelenskiy said he would welcome talks with Beijing as long as Chinese President Xi Jinping considered brokering peace: "We would like to meet with China," he told the joint briefing with visiting Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.
  • In other news: Ukraine's first lady Olena Zelenska showed videos of human rights violations in the country in a U.N. meeting on "Gross Human Rights Violations Due To The Aggression Against Ukraine", talking about shelling that kills civilians; mass graves; and destruction of civilian infrastructure by Russian forces.

Vladimir Putin announced plans to possibly boost nuclear forces, saying they are planning to deploy new Sarmat multi-warhead intercontinental ballistic missiles this year. 

  • In other news: The Ukrainian military said their forces repelled 90 Russian attacks on Thursday along the front line in the past 24 hours, and that they are holding on in Bakhmut as intense fighting continues.

European Commission VP Valdis Dombrovskis said that Bulgaria would not become a eurozone member before the beginning of 2025, stressing that the main challenge for the country is inflation, as the Balkan country aspires to adopt the euro as its currency before the beginning of 2024. 

  • Zoom out: Bulgaria, the poorest EU country, hopes that the euro will boost its economy and financial security, but its political crises make it difficult for them to fit the eurozone's criteria.

A UK court ruled that the London-based company that delivered the explosive chemical to Beirut port which caused the 2020 blast in Lebanon, Savaro Ltd., is liable towards the victims, Beirut Bar Association said.

Beirut blast

  • A step back: The ammonium nitrate that caused the explosion, which killed more than 200 people, is believed by the court to have been delivered by Savaro in 2013, and documents show that many officials were aware of the substance's presence in the port but did not take action to get rid of it.
  • Why it matters: The UK ruling is an unusual victory for victims' families, as some political interventions have blocked the investigation in Lebanon from going forward.

UK PM Rishi Sunak suggested that he was seeking legal changes to the existing Northern Ireland Protocol, an arrangement that the EU had repeatedly opposed. 

  • Driving the news: Replying to the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader's complaints at the parliament that the existing deal is "unacceptable", Sunak said he heard Donaldson "loud and clear", and that he can assure him that this is "an essential part of the ongoing negotiations with the EU".

Israeli military (IDF) said Palestinian militants fired six rockets towards the country's south from the Gaza Strip, following Israel's deadly military raid in the occupied West Bank where 11 Palestinians were killed. IDF also said air defenses intercepted five of the six rockets fired from Gaza, and that one landed in an open field. They also struck back some targets in Gaza, but no reports of casualties or injuries were reported from each side.


Harvey Weinstein, disgraced Hollywood producer, sentenced to 16 more years in prison for rape and sexual assault.

R Kelly, already serving 30 years for sex trafficking, sentenced to 20 years in federal child porn case.


Unity on Ukraine is unity on peace and justice

To live in a world where disputes between states are resolved without force, all countries must recognize that Russia’s challenge to the post-1945 international order affects them, regardless of their political system or alliance. With core principles of sovereignty and independence at stake, neutrality is not an option.

Ban Ki-moon & Juan Manuel Santos

Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine – a blatant attempt to destroy an independent, sovereign state living peacefully within recognized borders – has raised profound questions about the world we want to live in and how international relations should be managed in the future. One year on, the search for answers is even more urgent, and it must involve countries near and far from the war.

Failure to defend the core principles of sovereignty and independence anywhere risks opening the door to autocratic and aggressive regimes everywhere. To live in a world where disputes between states are resolved through negotiations rather than force, we must recognize that the war’s challenge to the post-1945 international order affects every country, regardless of political system or alliance. In fact, it is smaller, less powerful countries that will suffer most if the world divides into competing blocs, as it did during the Cold War.

As a former secretary-general of the United Nations and a former president of Colombia, we do not view the war in Ukraine from a European or Western perspective. When we visited Kyiv in August 2022 at Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s invitation, we did so as members of The Elders, the group of independent leaders that Nelson Mandela founded to advocate for peace, justice, human rights, and a sustainable future on this planet. As Elders, we are interested in ending wars, not winning them, and we believe it is never too soon to start preparing for future dialogue to achieve a just and sustainable peace in line with the UN Charter.

We look at this terrible war and its consequences through a global lens. We understand that for countries experiencing inflation and poverty because of the collapse of grain supplies and soaring energy prices, defending international norms and holding Russia accountable are less urgent issues than a food-security crisis that is threatening millions of vulnerable people.

Similarly, we understand why, at a time when geopolitical power dynamics have become less predictable, some countries are seeking to balance their political and economic interests in ways they believe will help preserve their future security and prosperity. For many countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, Western talk about upholding the values of the “international community” rings hollow, given rich countries’ failure to distribute vaccines equitably during the COVID-19 pandemic, or to deliver long-promised funding to tackle the climate crisis.

Still, the response from Asia, Latin America, and other parts of the world beyond Europe and North America must not be to retreat from international law and universal rights, or to remain neutral toward what is happening in Ukraine. Contrary to what some suggest, neutrality does not advance the prospects for peace; it simply emboldens Russian President Vladimir Putin to persist in his goal of destroying Ukraine, and may encourage similar acts of aggression and territorial expansion elsewhere.

It has been 80 years since the Moscow Declaration, when the wartime Allies committed to “a general international organization, based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all peace-loving states.” Today, we need a renewed commitment by all UN member states to play their part in reinvigorating an equitable rules-based order that protects and works for everyone, including the least powerful.

Achieving and sustaining a revitalized international order requires fairer systems of global governance and greater consistency in applying the rules. Rising regional powers have a vital role to play – and important choices to make – in this regard. Last year’s G20 summit in Bali demonstrated how regional powers like Indonesia can help bridge divisions. Political leaders reaffirmed the centrality of the UN Charter and ensured that the Global South’s interests were reflected in the debates and final commitments, such as on food and energy security.

Now, the G20 presidencies of India, Brazil, and South Africa offer an opportunity to build on Indonesia’s achievements over the next three years. The current fault lines must not be allowed to obscure the fundamental goal we all share: a world in which disputes are settled peacefully and in accordance with international law and human rights obligations.

Restoring the credibility of the multilateral system demands more than ethical leadership and moral consistency. It also requires ambitious reforms to the global peace and security architecture – a task that must include the thorny issue of reforming the UN Security Council.

We need a system that is fairer, more representative, and capable of taking decisive action in response to grave violations of the UN Charter. As we move toward the Summit of the Future that UN Secretary-General António Guterres has planned for next year, we owe it not only to the Ukrainian people but to all humanity to reject aggression and end impunity for aggressors. That is how we can live up to the UN Charter’s promise of a world free from the scourge of war.

Ban Ki-moon, Deputy Chair of The Elders, is a former secretary-general of the United Nations and South Korean foreign minister. Juan Manuel Santos, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, is a former president of Colombia (2010-18) and a member of The Elders.

© Project Syndicate 1995–2022

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Aposto Europe

Aposto Europe

The news, every weekday at 07:30 (CET), with a distinctly European perspective. Your briefing on markets, politics, business, tech and more — under 5 minutes


Aposto Europe

The news, every weekday at 07:30 (CET), with a distinctly European perspective. Your briefing on markets, politics, business, tech and more — under 5 minutes




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