War in Ukraine: Latest developments

AFP , Wednesday 27 Apr 2022

Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:

Ukrainian serviceman install a machine gun on the tank during the repair works after fighting agains
Ukrainian serviceman install a machine gun on the tank during the repair works after fighting against Russian forces in Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Wednesday, April 27, 2022. AP


Russia halts gas to Poland and Bulgaria

Russia's Gazprom halts gas shipments to Poland and Bulgaria for refusing to pay in rubles but the EU reacts quickly, saying it has stepped in to fulfil their energy needs.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki calls Russia's move a "direct attack" on his country and assures Poland will no longer need Russia gas from this autumn.

Bulgaria is almost completely dependent on Russia for gas.

The Kremlin blames the situation on the "unfriendly" actions taken against Russia by "unfriendly countries", referring to the Western sanctions imposed over its Ukraine invasion.

Announcing that a workaround had been found EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says: "Today, the Kremlin failed once again in its attempt to sow division among member states. The era of Russian fossil fuels in Europe is coming to an end."

EU warns against rubles payments

Von der Leyen warns EU members against giving into Moscow's demands for rubles payments, unless their contract is denominated in rubles, amid reports some customers have already done so.

"This would be a breach of the (EU) sanctions, so a high risk for the companies," she says, adding that "about 97 percent" of all EU contracts explicitly stipulate payments in euros or dollars.

Arms supplies hit

Russia claims its missiles have taken out a "large batch" of Western-supplied weapons and ammunition, that were being stored at an aluminium plant in the southeastern city of Zaporizhzhia.

The US and Britain have been prodding allies to send more heavy weapons to Ukraine to sway the conflict.

On Tuesday, Germany announced that it planned to send anti-aircraft tanks, marking a break from its previously cautious approach on arms shipments.

Eastern villages fall

Ukraine says that Russian forces have captured several eastern villages as part of Moscow's offensive to take control of the Donbas region, which Russia has vowed to "liberate".

The defence ministry said the villages of Velyka Komyshuvakha and Zavody in the northeastern Kharkiv region and Zarichne and Novotoshkivske in the Donetsk region had fallen.

Russia aims to create a land border between territory held by pro-Russian separatists in parts of the Donbas and the Russian-annexed Black Sea peninsula of Crimea.

Moldova unrest

Pro-Russian separatists in Moldova claim shots were fired across the border from western Ukraine towards a village housing a Russian arms depot in the breakaway Transnistria region.

Transnistria's interior ministry says drones overflew the village of Kolbasna before the gunfire.

There are growing fears that Moscow-backed Transnistria could be drawn into the war in Ukraine following a series of mysterious attacks on state infrastructure.

Transnistria's leadership has suggested Ukraine is to blame. Kyiv has accused Russia of staging the attacks as a pretext to make a grab for Transnistria.

No EU duties on Ukraine goods

To help the battered Ukrainian economy the EU proposes suspending all import duties on Ukrainian goods, following a similar move by the UK.

Putin has 'hope' for talks

Russian President Vladimir Putin tells UN chief Antonio Guterres that he still has faith in diplomacy.

"Despite the fact that the military operation is ongoing, we still hope that we will be able to reach agreements on the diplomatic track. We are negotiating, we do not reject (talks)," Putin tells Guterres during a visit by the UN secretary general to Moscow. Guterres is also due to visit Kyiv.

Friendship statue demolished

In a sign of the enmity between the two countries, authorities in Kyiv on Tuesday demolished a monument symbolising historic ties between ex-Soviet Ukraine and Russia.

"It took some effort but the Soviet sculpture of the two workers -- symbolising the reunification of Ukraine and Russia -- was dismantled this evening," Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko writes on social media.

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