Happy Thursday! We tried to make the text of today’s newsletter as green as the Chicago River last weekend, but Substack didn’t have enough St. Patrick’s Day spirit. ☘️
Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan spoke with his Russian counterpart General Nikolay Patrushev on Wednesday, the first publicly confirmed high-level talks between American and Russian officials since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began last month. According to a White House readout of the call, Sullivan warned Patrushev about “the consequences and implications of any possible Russian decision to use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken told NPR yesterday that Western sanctions against Russia are “not designed to be permanent,” but that their end is tied to Ukraine’s independence, territorial integrity, and sovereignty being restored. “We will want to make sure … anything that’s done is in effect irreversible,” he said. “[And] that this can’t happen again, that Russia won’t pick up and do exactly what it’s doing in a year or two.”
The Federal Reserve Open Markets Committee voted Wednesday to raise its target interest rate 0.25 percentage points, the first such increase since 2018. Fed officials dramatically revised their inflation expectations for 2022—they believe the annual personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index will come in between 4.1 and 4.4 percent—and signaled they plan to hike the target rate several more times this year until it nears 2 percent. “As I looked around the table at today’s meeting, I saw a committee that’s acutely aware of the need to return the economy to price stability and determined to use our tools to do exactly that,” Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said.