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Putin warns interfering countries of 'lightning-fast' reaction – as EU decries gas cuts as 'blackmail'

Vladimir Putin warned that any threat made by Russia to invade Ukraine would be met with a swift reaction.

The Russian leader stated that all objectives would be achieved in the Ukraine war in an address to St Petersburg’s Council of Legislators.

He stated that anyone who wants to interfere with what is happening from the outside must be aware of this as an unacceptable strategic threat to Russia.

“They should know that we will respond to counter-strikes lightning-fast.”

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Russia wants to lower the ‘considerable risk’ of nuclear war – Ukraine news

He stated that the “special military operations” in Ukraine, which he called “special,” would “guarantee safety” for people living in Crimea and the Donbas.

He also cautioned the West by saying that its plans to “strangle” us economically had failed. He added that any country trying to interfere in the conflict will face “quick and furious” retaliation.

Read more about Russia

Russia had earlier imposed sanctions against more than 200 British MPs, and former MPs.


Key developments

  • Russia reduces natural gas supplies to NATO countries
  • European countries accuse Russia of “blackmail” regarding natural gas.
  • Moldova warns that Russian-backed separatists are trying to increase tensions by launching attacks
  • Mariupol commander demands Dunkirk-style evacuation
  • Russia leaves UN tourism organization
Image: Situation at day 63 in war in Ukraine


EU denies gas cuts as ‘blackmail

Russia stopped gas supplies to Bulgaria, Poland today via Yamal-Europe pipeline. This was in response to its demand for payment by roubles.

This is the US’s most severe retaliation against international sanctions over war. It comes as European countries join the US in increasing arms shipments to Ukraine in order to thwart a new Russian attack in the east.

They won’t be in any immediate trouble as they have been working for alternative sources for many years. The continent is entering summer and gas will become less important for households.

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Analysis: Who purchases Russian gas?

Gas payments to Poland and Bulgaria were previously made in euros. Russia requested that they be made in rubles, but both countries refused and the payments have been stopped.

Gas prices have increased, but not as much as we expected. This is because Poland has more gas than normal and new pipelines have reduced dependence on Russian oil.

Ursula von der Leyen, chief EU diplomat, stated Wednesday that Gazprom’s decision not to supply gas to Bulgaria and Poland was “another provocation by the Kremlin” as well as an “attempt of blackmailing” European countries with gas.

The EU announced plans for reducing Russian gas imports by 2/3 within one year. Long-term goals include ending Russian energy imports by 2030, which currently amount to EUR800m per day.

Continue reading: Putin, a ‘Satan-in-human form’ says a priest as firefighters lose battle to save Kharkiv

Moscow declared on Tuesday that it was at war with NATO, warning that Western weapons are escalating the conflict in Ukraine.

Sergei Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister, stated that NATO has been continuing to deliver weapons and supplies to Ukraine. He accused NATO of “pouring fuel on the fire”

The diplomat warned against inciting a third war, and stated that the threat of nuclear conflict “shouldn’t be underestimated”.


Fighting continues east

The fighting in eastern Ukraine continued on the ground along a relatively static front line that was 300 miles (480km long).

Moscow claims that Russian missiles hit an arms depot containing weapons from the United States and European nations.

According to the Russian defense ministry, its Kalibr missiles destroyed the Zaporizhzhia hangars that contained “a large quantity of foreign weapons and ammunition” supplied by the United States and European nations.

The governor stated that an ammunition depot in Belgorod, Russia, was set ablaze on Wednesday morning after several explosions.

There were explosions reported also in Russia’s Kursk area near the Ukrainian border. Authorities also claimed that an air defense system had shot down a drone.

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An oil storage building in Bryansk, Russia was set on fire earlier this week.

Mykhailo Podolyak, the Ukrainian presidential advisor, hinted at Ukraine’s involvement in the fires by saying in a Telegram posting that “karma” is a harsh thing.

According to his family and officials, Russia released Trevor Reed, a former Marine, in exchange for a prisoner swap with the US.

His parents Joey and Paula and his sister Taylor released a statement saying that Trevor was safe on his way home to the United States.

They said that Mr Reed, 30 will “tell his story” when he’s ready.

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