Ukraine Special Report:
March 26-April 1, 2022
Read all about Ukraine! Cathay Pacific's New York-Hong Kong flights now are the longest nonstops in the world since they have to fly around Russian airspace. United and Air Canada drop routes to Eastern Europe as Russia's invasion of Ukraine dampens flyer interest in nearby destinations. Finnair won't fly seven routes to Japan and Korea this summer because it cannot overfly Russian airspace. Emirates claims the world needs it to keep flying to Russia. Ukraine says Russian attacks have destroyed 15 of the country's airports. Aeroflot builds international hub in Sochi and will use Russian-made Superjet regional aircraft to avoid seizure of planes that belong to Western lessors. Meanwhile, the lessors say they won't do business with Russia again. And more.

Ukraine Update: Friday, April 1, 2022

Even Gerald Depardieu, the larger-than-life French film actor who became a Russian citizen and FOV (Friend of Vlad) has turned against Putin. "The Russian people are not responsible for the crazy, unacceptable excesses of their leaders like Vladimir Putin," he says. Agence France-Presse has details. Here are today's other developments:
         The airport report   The Ukraine Defense Ministry says 15 of the country's airports have been destroyed by Russia since the invasion began five weeks ago.
         He's left the light on for them ...   The Russian owner of a hotel in Serbia has given shelter to about three dozen Ukrainians forced to flee their country. "I think the only thing I can do now is to help Ukrainians somehow," says Mikhail Golubtsov, who left Russia in 2014 after its occupation of Crimea. Reuters has details.
         ... But elsewhere in Serbia   Golubtsov's gesture of kindness toward Ukraine isn't the majority opinion in Serbia, however. The two nations--Serbia, yearning for its old pan-Slavic empire, and Russia, yearning to reassemble a pan-Rus' one-- have long been allies. Little has changed since the invasion of Ukraine and most Serbians solidly back their big brother Russia. The New York Times has details.
         Barrels and gallons   The price of Brent crude oil, which closely tracks the price of jet fuel, is trading flat on global markets. It was around $105 at 4pm CET today, up fractionally from yesterday's closing price of $104.71. Meanwhile, back at the pump, the average national price of gasoline continues to edge downward. Today it's $4.215 a gallon, according to the AAA. That's an entire penny lower than yesterday.
        Fish tales   The worldwide seafood industry is steeling itself for price hikes, supply disruptions and potential job losses as new rounds of sanctions on Russia make key species such as cod and crab harder to obtain. The Associated Press has details. Brits are especially worried since Russia's invasion of Ukraine is driving up prices of potatoes and oil, too, threatening the traditional fish-and-chips meal. has that angle.

Ukraine Update: Thursday, March 31, 2022

Vladimir Putin is turning out to be lots of things--including a bad bluffer. He decreed that since the West had declared economic war against Russia, Western importers must pay for their energy in rubles. The Europeans flatly refused--and now Germany, the largest importer of Russian gas and oil, says Putin has backed down. Germany will continue to pay in euros. Deutsche Welle has details. Here are today's other developments:
         Homeward bound   Millions of Ukrainians have been forced to leave the country. But some are already headed back to the homeland. Euronews has details.
         Fool me once ...   Western aircraft lessors have already written off most of the planes stranded in the Russian commercial fleet. A huge leasing firm, Dublin-based Avolon, now says Putin's seizure of leased planes dims chances that lessors would ever do business with Russia again. CNBC has details.
         Barrels and gallons   The price of Brent crude oil, which closely tracks the price of jet fuel, fell nearly $6 a barrel today, settling at $104.71. The reason? The Biden Administration's release of a record amount of oil from U.S. strategic reserves. Meanwhile, back at the pump, the national price of gasoline continues to fall, too. Today it's $4.225 a gallon, according to the AAA. That's more than a penny below yesterday and nearly nine cents cheaper than the record high on March 11.
        The ruble rebound   The ruble has regained almost all of its losses since the imposition of new Western sanctions after Russia's invasion of Ukraine. It's back to selling in the 85-to-the-dollar range. But keep in mind that, once upon a time, Putin claimed the ruble was to be valued at 1:1 to the dollar. The Associated Press has details.

Ukraine Update: Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Former President Donald Trump claims the investigation into his links with Russia is a hoax and "fake news." The counterpoint: He once again has publicly appealed to Russia for dirt on a political opponent. This time, he's asking Putin for scandalous material on the sitting President of the United States even while the United States is trying to stop Putin's invasion of Ukraine. How's that make America great? Agence France-Presse has details. Here are today's other developments:
         There'll always be an English libel lawyer   Wonder why so many Russian kleptocrats love London? Well, England makes it very easy to hide foreign wealth behind shell companies. But there's something else: England's libel laws. They make it incredibly difficult to write negative things about the kleptocrats. Even when true, the journalist may be forced through an expensive libel suit. The New York Times has details.
         Barrels and gallons   The price of Brent crude oil, which most closely tracks the price of jet fuel, is up today, selling around $110 a barrel as of 1:30pm ET. Meanwhile, back at the pump, the national price of gasoline continues to fall ever so slightly. Today it's $4.236 a gallon, according to the AAA. It's almost a penny below yesterday.
         With friends like these ...   Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have rejected calls to urge OPEC to sever ties with Russia. “When it comes to OPEC+, everyone leaves politics outside the door,” said one Arab apologist. The Wall Street Journal has details.
        Indian Twitter hearts Putin   India and Russia have always had a close relationship, especially since India has long harbored suspicions that the United States favored Pakistan. But bursts of Putin-supporting tweets in accounts located in India have raised suspicions about their authenticity. Many bear the signs of spam and phony accounts. The New York Times has details.

Ukraine Update: Tuesday, March 29, 2022

In the perfect world, all of the West would have observed the sanctions, boycotted the Russian market and forced Putin to relent. But, of course, some businesses always have an excuse to take the money and run, civilization be damned. Politico explains who is continuing to feed the Russian market--and why. The details are here. Here are today's other developments:
        Strangers in a strange land   Most residents of countries once under the thumb of the Soviet Union are appalled at the thought of Russia invading Ukraine. But there are holdouts, mostly Russian speakers in those former Soviet Republics who side with what they still see as their homeland. The Wall Street Journal has details.
        Flat   The price of Brent crude oil, which most closely tracks the price of jet fuel, was flat today. It settled at $107.71 a barrel. Meanwhile, back at the pump, the national price of gasoline today is $4.244, according to the AAA. That's essentially flat from yesterday.
        Cathay's marathon   The new longest flight in the world? Cathay Pacific's Hong Kong-New York/Kennedy nonstop, which will fly a roundabout route to avoid Russian airspace. The incredible journey--10,326 miles--would surpass the distance flown by Singapore Airlines' nonstops to New York and Los Angeles. Bloomberg News has details.
        Weasels at the wheel   Emirates Airline, which refuses to stop flying to Russia, claims it is being forced to continue service by its owner, which, of course, is the Dubai government. Besides, Emirates executives say, the world needs us to keep flying to Russia. Alarabiya has details.
        Another Europe surprise   Europe flights averaged 21,084 per day for the week ended March 27, says Eurocontrol, which operates the continent's air traffic control system. That's up 2.6% from the previous week and represents 75.7% of 2019 aircraft volume, a continuing surprise given the effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and subsequent airspace closures.

Ukraine Update: Monday, March 28, 2022

Western lessors are looking reality in the face and realize they have little chance of reclaiming the hundreds of aircraft leased to Russian commercial airlines. Reuters has details. Here are today's other developments:
        Finnair's Asian woes   Finnair was building its compact hub at Helsinki's Vantaa Airport with Asia flights before Russia invaded Ukraine. But now that it has to avoid Russian airspace, a huge Asian network is out of the question. The airline this summer had planned to fly from Helsinki to six Japanese airports: Tokyo/Narita and Tokyo/Haneda airports; Osaka; Nagoya; Sapporo; and Fukuoka. All are now cancelled. The airline will also temporarily shelf plans to launch flights to Busan, Korea.
        Shanghaied   The price of Brent crude oil, which most closely tracks the price of jet fuel, fell sharply on world markets today. As of 2:30pm ET today, it was back below $110, down from $117+ on Friday. The reason: China's lockdown of its second-largest city, Shanghai, is expected to sharply lower the demand for energy in the immediate future.
        Meanwhile, back at the pump ...   Gasoline was selling today for $4.246, according to the AAA. That's essentially flat from yesterday and down about a half-cent from last week.
        Beer buzz   Two major European brewers, Heineken and Carlsberg, have decided to exit the Russia market. "We have concluded that Heineken's ownership of the business in Russia is no longer sustainable nor viable in the current environment," the Dutch firm explained.

Ukraine Update: Weekend, March 26-27, 2022

This is probably a mixed blessing given how dreadful Spotify is and yet... The streaming service has shut down its Russia network. Besides the loss of garbage-fidelity music, Russians will also sadly lose another place where they might have accessed real news about the Ukraine situation. The BBC has details. Here are this weekend's other developments:
        Humiliating hub   Hampered by the fact that Western lessors will seize its leased aircraft if they are flown out of the country, Aeroflot has a new idea: An international hub in Sochi using Russian-made Superjet 100 regional jets. The humiliating comedown means Aeroflot's Rossiya division will fly to 17 destinations from Sochi--the edge of the Superjet range--and then connect passengers onto the larger Russian cities. World Airline News has details.
        Eastern Europe suffers   The invasion of Ukraine is certainly dampening enthusiasm for travel to other destinations in Eastern Europe. United Airlines is dropping plans to launch flights between Newark and Prague and Washington/Dulles and Berlin. Air Canada has delayed its scheduled launch of flights between Toronto and Budapest, And Britain-based Jet2 is dropping its flights to Poland.
        French being French   Ukraine has called for a global boycott of French retail giant Auchan. It runs more than 300 supermarkets in Russia and has refused to close them and comply with Western sanctions. Agence France-Presse has details.

Daily Ukraine Updates for March 19-25:

Read all about Ukraine! Ukraine International Airlines says it is grounded until April 15, but the carrier is willing to lease crews and aircraft to other airlines. Finland cuts the EU's last passenger rail link with Russia. Burger King's Russian franchisee refuses to close its restaurants in Russia. Renault and Nestle wind down Russian operations under intense global pressure. Will Russia aim for Poland next? Paul Manafort, Trump's convicted and pardoned 2016 campaign chief, caught trying to use a revoked passport to fly to Dubai. Russia says 78 commercial jets have been seized by Western lenders. And more. And more. Click here for the week's updates.

Daily Ukraine Updates for March 12-18:

Read all about it! U.S. gasoline prices reach record highs, then fall a bit. Uber and Lyft add surcharges to all rides. Air Astana drops Russia routes because it cannot secure flight insurance. Korean Air bails on Russian routes, too. No Western hotel chain has closed or deflagged a property in Russia. Brent crude, which closely tracks the price of jet fuel, plunges from last week's highs. Russian tourists are trapped at Thai beach resorts because they cannot find flights home. Finnair explains how Airbus A350s fly over the North Pole to avoid Russian airspace. Russia seizes hundreds of leased commercial jets that should have been returned to Western lessors. Canada and Britain ban RT from the airwaves. And more. Click here for the week's updates.

Daily Ukraine Updates for March 5-11:

Read all about it! Transatlantic bookings dropped 13% after Russia invaded Ukraine. Russia grounds most of its international flights to keep leased aircraft from being repossessed by the Western leasing firms. United Airlines drops two India routes. A scheme to help Ukrainians by renting their Airbnbs runs into the realities of home-sharing sites. Western carriers reroute flights and drop others to avoid Russian airspace, but runs are now hours longer. Western hotel chains have yet to sever their ties with Russian franchisees. Emirates blames high oil prices for its revival of fuel surcharges. And more. Click here for the week's updates.

Daily Ukraine Updates for Feb. 28-March 4:

Read all about it! The United States and Europe close airspace to Russian aircraft, but an Aeroflot jet eludes Canada's ban. Finnair is in financial turmoil as it loses Russian business and Asian traffic. Russia bans flights from dozens of countries. United, Air France, KLM and SAS drop Asia flights because they can't overfly Russian territory. JAL and ANA drop Europe flights because they can't overfly Russia. Oil firms, retailers and sports groups bailing on Russia. Boeing and Airbus won't service aircraft operated by Russian carriers. And more. Click here for the week's updates.