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Russia Cuts Gas Into Poland, Bulgaria As Ukrainian Tensions Rise -By ASC

Russian energy firm Gazprom has told Poland and Bulgaria it will stop sending gas starting Wednesday.

Moscow:

Russia on Wednesday will cut off gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria, two NATO and EU members said, escalating into a deepening rift between the West and Moscow over Ukraine as tensions also rise in neighboring Moldova.

Kyiv accused Moscow of blackmailing Europe and trying to drag Moldova into conflict after authorities in the Moscow -backed Transdniestria region said they had been the target of a series of attacks.

A staunch opponent of the Kremlin, Poland is among the European countries demanding the harshest sanctions against Russia for invading its neighbors.

Poland’s state -owned PGNiG said supplies from energy giant Gazprom via Ukraine and Belarus would be cut at 0800CET (0600GMT) on Wednesday, but Warsaw said it would not have to use its reserves and its gas reserves were 76% full.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called the country “unfriendly” to pay for gas imports in rubles, a move that only a handful of buyers have implemented so far.

“The main goal of the Russian leadership is not just to seize Ukrainian territory, but to divide the whole of central and eastern Europe and give a global blow to democracy,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said late on Tuesday.

Its chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, said Russia “started gas extortion in Europe”.

“Russia is trying to destroy the unity of our allies,” Yermak said.

Bulgaria, which is almost entirely dependent on Russian gas imports, said it had fulfilled all its contractual obligations with Gazprom and that the proposed new payment scheme violated the rules.

It has held preliminary talks to import liquefied natural gas through neighboring Turkey and Greece.

Gazprom said it had not yet suspended supplies to Poland but Warsaw had to pay for gas in line with its new “payment order”. It declined to comment on Bulgaria.

The Ukrainian invasion, launched on February 24, has left thousands dead or injured, left cities and towns in ruins, and forced more than 5 million people to flee abroad.

Moscow called its actions a “special operation” to disarm Ukraine and protect it from fascism.

Ukraine and the West say this as a false excuse for an unprovoked war to seize territory in a move that has sparked widespread conflict concerns in Europe that have not been seen since World War II.

Russia’s ambassador to the United States has warned Washington to stop sending weapons to Ukraine, saying that large shipments of Western weapons have exacerbated the situation.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned late Monday that: “NATO is, in essence, engaging in war with Russia through proxies and arming those proxies. War means war,” saying the risk of nuclear conflict should not be underestimated.

US Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said there was no reason for the conflict in Ukraine escalating into a nuclear war. “Nuclear war cannot be won and it should not be fought,” he said.

THE CONFLICT?

In Transdniestria, an unidentified piece of land bordering southwestern Ukraine, authorities said the blast had damaged two radio poles broadcast in Russian and that one of its military units had been attacked.

It gave few details, but blamed Ukraine, while pro-Western Moldovan President Maia Sandu blamed “attempted escalation” on “pro-war” factions in Transdniestria.

Reuters cannot independently verify accounts. The Kremlin, which has troops and peacekeepers in the region, said it was deeply concerned.

Moldova, a former Soviet republic with close cultural ties with NATO member Romania, expressed concern last week after Russia’s top general said Moscow intended to build a route through Ukraine to Transdniestria.

Meanwhile fighting continues in eastern and southern Ukraine.

Russia’s defense ministry said its troops had “liberated” the entire Kherson region in southern Ukraine and parts of Zaporizhzhia, Mykolaiv and Kharkiv regions, the Interfax news agency reported.

If confirmed, it would represent significant Russian progress.

One of Putin’s closest allies, Nikolai Patrushev, said Ukraine was increasingly heading for ruin into “several states” because of what it threw out as a U.S. attempt to use Kyiv to weaken Russia.

More than 40 countries met in Germany to discuss Ukraine’s defense.

Mark Milley, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters while flying into Tuesday’s meeting that the next few weeks in Ukraine will be “very, very critical”.

In potential humanitarian aid, Putin agreed “in principle” with the involvement of the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to evacuate civilians from the besieged steel plant in Mariupol, according to the United Nations.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by AGRASMARTCITY staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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