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Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now

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Russia resumed pumping gas via its biggest pipeline to Europe on Thursday after a 10-day outage, the operator said, amid concerns Moscow would use its vast energy exports to push back against Western pressure over its invasion of Ukraine.


* The head of Germany’s energy regulator said flows of Russian gas through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline could reach a pre-maintenance level of 40% capacity on Thursday but political uncertainty around supplies remained. He and the economy minister will give statements at 1200 GMT.

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* The Spanish government will not order consumers to limit their gas consumption, Energy Minister Teresa Ribera said on Thursday, after Spain said it would oppose a European Union proposal to cut gas usage.

* Ukraine’s central bank devalued the hryvnia currency by 25% against the U.S. dollar and has asked its creditors for a two year payment freeze on its international bonds to focus its dwindling financial resources on repelling Russia.


* Russian forces are likely closing in on Ukraine’s second biggest power plant at Vuhlehirska, 50 km (31 miles) north-east of Donetsk, as part of plan to seize critical infrastructure and the key cities of Kramatorsk and Sloviansk, British military intelligence said.

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* One of the most densely populated areas of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second biggest city, is being shelled, mayor Igor Terekhov said on Telegram, asking people not to leave shelters. The regional governor said two people had been killed and 19 wounded.

* Serhiy Gaidai, governor of the eastern Luhansk region, which Russian forces fully captured earlier this month, said on Telegram that “there is probably not a single square meter of land left untouched by Russian artillery.”

* The governor of the neighboring Donetsk region, Pavlo Kyrylenko, urged people to evacuate, saying Russian forces had destroyed schools in Kramatorsk and Kostiantynivka and shelled the industrial part of Kramatorsk and central Bakhmut.

* Russia said it had shot down a Ukrainian SU-25 military plane near Kramatosk.

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* Vitaly Kim, governor of Mykolaiv region in southern Ukraine, said the region had been targeted with seven S300 missiles, with one person wounded and impacts on infrastructure, energy facilities and storage areas. Russia denies targeting civilians.

* The United States estimates around 15,000 Russian soldiers have been killed and perhaps 45,000 wounded, CIA Director William Burns said on Wednesday, adding that Ukraine has also endured significant casualties.

It was not immediately possible to verify the battlefield reports.


* European Union diplomats agreed a ban on importing Russian gold and a freeze on the assets of the country’s top lender Sberbank on Wednesday in a seventh round of sanctions dismissed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy as inadequate.


Berlin resident Michaela Boyen, asked about gas flows resuming on the pipeline from Russia:

“For consumers it can be positive of course if there is a positive impact on gas prices. Especially for poorer households this news can have a calming effect,” she told Reuters. “On a political level, it’s maybe not good news so I’m somewhat torn.”

(Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov, David Ljunggren and Aleksandar Vasovic and Reuters bureaux; editing by Philippa Fletcher)



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