Ukraine crisis; Citi consumer banking withdrawal; SpaceX grabs new NASA contract

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Today on The Leaders' Brief -

  • Tod Wolters, a top US general posted in Europe said that there was a "low to medium" risk of Russia invading Ukraine as the UK - an NATO ally, ordered warships to sail to the Black Sea. The decision, which is yet to be officially confirmed, comes as Russian troops continue to build up along Ukraine’s border. Ukraine has been fighting Russian separatists in the eastern Donbas region for months now and is apprehensive of the Kremlin planning another invasion. Such concerns come after Russia placed more troops on Ukraine's eastern border than at any time since the Crimean annexation of 2014.

  • American banking group, Citigroup is planning to close consumer banking operations across 13 countries as it does not have the scale to compete in these markets. The bank would now only offer industry banking services, completely doing away with retail banking in the 13 markets that include Australia, Bahrain, China, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. It is expected that the banking group will now try and look for takeovers of its consumer banking services, possibly from local players.

  • USA’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration or NASA awarded SpaceX a $2.9 billion contract to build a moon lander as early as 2024, picking it over Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin and defence contractor Dynetics Inc. Last year SpaceX completed its maiden taxi service carrying NASA astronauts. NASA plans to send a crew to the ISS aboard another SpaceX rocket on April 27th. “NASA rules,” the billionaire entrepreneur who leads several other companies such as Tesla and Neuralink wrote on Twitter after SpaceX won the contract.

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