Despite Russia’s promises to scale back its offensive in parts of Ukraine, the war ground on into its sixth week Thursday with no end in sight — and worrisome signs that its consequences for Ukrainian civilians and global economies were widening.
With most of the largest oil producers, including Russia, expected to take little action to increase production when they meet by teleconference Thursday, President Joe Biden is considering a plan to release 1 million barrels of oil a day for the next six months, a move that would ease global supply concerns and helped send oil prices lower Thursday morning.
The war’s ripple effects are continuing to spread. Diesel prices are soaring, Germany is taking steps toward rationing natural gas in anticipation of a potential cutoff of Russian deliveries, and the United Nations is forecasting the worst global hunger crisis in decades as the conflict constrains Ukrainian and Russian grain exports. The number of Ukrainian refugees has surpassed 4 million, half of them children.
Still, even as fighting rages, Ukrainian and Russian officials have signaled a willingness to keep negotiating. A member of Ukraine’s negotiating team said discussions between the two sides would resume via video link Friday, and the foreign minister of Turkey, which hosted talks this week, said that his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts could meet within weeks.