Live Updates | Bulgarian Energy Minister: The gas is still flowing
SOFIA, Bulgaria – Energy Minister Alexander Nikolov said on Wednesday that Bulgaria can meet user needs for at least a month, after the country received a day’s notice from Russia’s Gazprom indicating that its gas supply would be interrupted.
He said the gas was still flowing as he spoke.
“Alternative supplies are available, and Bulgaria hopes that alternative routes and supplies will also be secured at EU level,” Nikolov said, referring to an EU expert meeting scheduled for later Wednesday to plan the next steps. He added that Poland and Lithuania are in the same situation as Bulgaria.
The Bulgarian side has fully fulfilled its obligations and made all payments required under its current contract in a timely manner, strictly and in accordance with its terms, Nikolov said, and Bulgaria prepaid for the supplies in April, which shows that Gazprom breached its contract.
“Obviously gas is being used as a political tool,” he said. “As long as I am a minister, Bulgaria will not negotiate under pressure, Bulgaria is not for sale and does not succumb to any trade quid pro quo.”
KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIAN-UKRAINE WAR:
— United States: Allies must move “at the speed of war” to help Ukraine
— Nuclear chief: Russia’s seizure of Chernobyl risked an accident
– Poland and Bulgaria say Russia suspends natural gas supply
– Russia has been withdrawn from hosting the 2023 Men’s Ice Hockey World Championships
— US calls for more weapons for Ukraine amid fears of expanding war
Follow all AP stories on Russia’s war on Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
LONDON — British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is calling on Britain to increase defense spending and supply more heavy weapons to Ukraine as the West seeks to counter Russian aggression.
In a speech to be delivered on Wednesday evening, Truss will say that a “generation of underinvestment” in the military led to the invasion of Ukraine, according to excerpts reported by the Daily Telegraph. She adds that the target for NATO members to devote 2% of their gross domestic product to defense should be seen as a minimum.
Truss will also say Britain needs to ‘double’ its support for Ukraine, dig into inventories and increase production so it can provide heavy weapons, tanks and planes to help repel the orderly invasion. by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“If Putin succeeds, there will be even more misery across Europe and dire consequences across the world,” Truss plans to say. “We would never feel safe again.”
LVIV, Ukraine – Gas prices in Europe soared 24% following Gazprom’s statement that it was suspending deliveries to Poland and Bulgaria from Wednesday as it received no payment from their leaves since April 1st. around 125 euros per megawatt hour.
Fatih Birol, executive director of the Paris-based International Energy Agency, called Russia’s decision to cut off natural gas to Bulgaria and Poland a “militarization of energy supplies”.
“Gazprom’s decision to completely shut off gas supplies to Poland is another sign of Russia’s politicization of existing agreements and will only accelerate European efforts to move away from Russian energy supplies,” he tweeted Wednesday morning.
He said Russia’s decision “shows more clearly than ever that Europe must act quickly to reduce its dependence on Russian energy.”
The spike comes even as the weather gets warmer in Europe, reducing demand for natural gas to heat homes and businesses.
MOSCOW — Russian natural gas giant Gazprom said it cut gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria after refusing to pay for shipments in roubles.
He warned that if they siphoned off gas destined for other European customers, deliveries to Europe would be reduced to that amount.
The move follows Russian President Vladimir Putin’s order to switch payments to the ruble for Russian gas supplied to Europe.
BEIJING — Drone company DJI Technology Co. said it will temporarily suspend business operations in Russia and Ukraine to ensure its products are not used during hostilities.
“DJI is internally reassessing compliance requirements in various jurisdictions. Pending the ongoing review, DJI will temporarily suspend all business operations in Russia and Ukraine,” the company said in a statement.
This statement makes it one of the few Chinese companies to have publicly withdrawn from Russia. While many Western brands and companies pulled out of the Russian market to protest its invasion of Ukraine, many Chinese companies continued to operate in the country. China continues to refrain from directly criticizing Russia over the war.
The suspension comes more than a month after Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov wrote an open letter calling on DJI to block sales of their drones in Russia, alleging that the Russians were using “DJI products in Ukraine in order to direct their missile to kill civilians”.
POKROVSK, Ukraine – As Russian forces intensify their bombardment of eastern Ukraine, more and more people are leaving their homes in search of safety.
In Pokrovsk, a town in the Donetsk region, people lined up on Tuesday to board a train bound for the far west of the country, along the border with Hungary and Slovakia. One person was hoisted onto the train in a wheelchair, another on a stretcher.
The passengers took with them cats, dogs, a few bags and boxes, and the memory of those who did not flee in time.
“We were in the basement, but my daughter did not survive and was hit by shrapnel on the doorstep” during a bombardment on Monday, says Mykola Kharchenko, 74. “We had to bury him in the garden near the pear tree.
He said his village, Vremivka, about 70 kilometers (40 miles) from Pokrovsk, was under heavy fire for four days and everything was destroyed. With tears in his eyes, Kharchenko said he somehow stayed at home, but when he got to the station he collapsed.
UNITED NATIONS – UN says Secretary-General António Guterres and Russian President Vladimir Putin have agreed in principle that the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross should be involved in the evacuation of civilians from a besieged steel plant in the city of Ukraine, in the southeast of the country. Mariupol.
UN spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said that during their one-on-one meeting on Tuesday, António Guterres and Putin “discussed proposals for humanitarian aid and the evacuation of civilians from conflict areas. , especially in relation to the situation in Mariupol”.
The sprawling Azovstal steelworks was almost completely destroyed by Russian attacks, but it is the last pocket of organized Ukrainian resistance in Mariupol.
An estimated 2,000 soldiers and 1,000 civilians are believed to be locked in bunkers under the destroyed structure.
Dujarric said that following the Guterres-Putin agreement in principle, discussions will take place with the UN humanitarian office and the Russian Ministry of Defense on the evacuation.
WASHINGTON — The State Department said American diplomats have begun returning to Ukraine on day trips to temporary offices in the western city of Lviv from neighboring Poland.
The department said the first group of diplomats crossed the Polish-Ukrainian border and traveled to Lviv on Tuesday morning before returning to Poland later in the day.
The step came just two days after Secretary of State Antony Blinken informed Ukrainian leaders during a secret visit to Kyiv that the United States would begin staffing its diplomatic premises in Ukraine this week.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said the agency had accelerated its review of the reopening of the US embassy in Kyiv, which was closed shortly before the invasion of Ukraine by Russia on February 24. He said operations at the embassy would resume as soon as possible depending on the security situation. in the capital.