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NewsRussia blocks ALL energy going to Finland after country...

Russia blocks ALL energy going to Finland after country applied to join Nato

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Russia has stopped delivering natural gas to Finland after it refused to pay in rubles – and just days after it applied to join Nato. 

Warring president Vladimir Putin has been demanding payments in the Russian currency in a bid to ease the pressures of sanctions, which were applied by the West following his barbaric invasion of Ukraine in February. 

Russian energy giant Gazprom said it had ‘completely stopped gas deliveries’ as it had not received ruble payments from Finland’s state-owned energy company Gasum ‘by the end of the working day on May 20’.

It comes after Russia cut off its supply of electricity to the Nordic country earlier this month, while other European countries who refused to pay in rubles, including Bulgaria and Poland, had their gas supplies stopped in April. 

Finland is not overly reliant on Russian gas and only around 10 per cent of its electricity had come from its neighbour to the east, but the turning off of the taps is likely to place more pressure on the country as it seeks to join US-led Nato. 

It comes as Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has suggested equipping Moldova with Nato standard weapons in case Putin decides to extend his war. 

She accused the Russian president of wanting to create a ‘greater Russia’ and feared Moldova, south-west of Ukraine, could be Moscow’s next target. 

Warring president Vladimir Putin has been demanding payments in rubles in a bid to ease the pressures of sanctions, which were applied by the West following his barbaric invasion of Ukraine

Warring president Vladimir Putin has been demanding payments in rubles in a bid to ease the pressures of sanctions, which were applied by the West following his barbaric invasion of Ukraine

Russian energy giant Gazprom said it had 'completely stopped gas deliveries' as it had not received ruble payments from Finland's state-owned energy company Gasum 'by the end of the working day on May 20'. (Pictured: Pipes at Gasum plant in Raikkola, Finland)

Russian energy giant Gazprom said it had ‘completely stopped gas deliveries’ as it had not received ruble payments from Finland’s state-owned energy company Gasum ‘by the end of the working day on May 20’. (Pictured: Pipes at Gasum plant in Raikkola, Finland) 

Other European countries who refused to pay in rubles, including Bulgaria and Poland, had their gas supplies stopped in April. (Pictured; Gazprom company)

Other European countries who refused to pay in rubles, including Bulgaria and Poland, had their gas supplies stopped in April. (Pictured; Gazprom company)

Meanwhile, Putin’s bloody assault on Ukraine continues at pace, with the desperate dictator claiming to have taken the strategic port city of Mariupol in the east of the country.      

Russia is now pressing for control of Ukraine’s Donbas region, claiming victory in the months-long battle for Mariupol’s steel plant and launching a major offensive on the remaining Ukrainian-held territory in the province of Luhansk.

The last Ukrainian forces holed up in Mariupol’s smashed Azovstal steelworks surrendered on Friday, Russia’s defense ministry said. 

‘The territory of the Azovstal metallurgical plant … has been completely liberated,’ the ministry said in a statement, adding that 2,439 defenders had surrendered in the past few days, including 531 in the final group.

Ukraine’s General Staff of Armed Forces did not comment on Russia’s claim in its morning update on Saturday.

Russia also launched what appeared to be a major assault to seize the last remaining Ukrainian-held territory in Luhansk, one of two southeastern Ukrainian provinces Moscow proclaims as independent states.

Serhiy Gaidai, the governor of the Luhansk region, said in a social media post early on Saturday that Russia was trying to destroy the city of Sievierodonetsk, with fighting taking place on the outskirts of the city.

‘Shelling continues from morning to the evening and also throughout the night,’ Gaidai said in a video post on the Telegram messaging app.

In early hours on Saturday, air raid sirens were going off in much of Ukraine, including in the Kyiv capital region and the southern port of Odesa.

Capturing Luhansk and Donetsk provinces, much of which make up Ukraine’s industrial Donbas region, would allow Moscow to claim a victory after announcing last month that this was now its objective.

Despite losing ground elsewhere in recent weeks, Russian forces have advanced on the Luhansk front.

‘This will be the critical next few weeks of the conflict,’ said Mathieu Boulegue, an expert at London’s Chatham House think tank. 

‘And it depends on how effective they are at conquering Sievierodonetsk and the lands across it.’

The city of Sievierodonetsk and its twin Lysychansk across the Siverskiy Donets river form the eastern part of a Ukrainian-held pocket that Russia has been trying to overrun since mid-April after failing to capture Kyiv.

Ukraine’s general staff said on Saturday that Russian forces were preparing to try again to cross the river, after a previous attempt earlier this month led to one of the largest battles in the conflict so far.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss reveals talks are underway that will ensure Moldova is armed with ‘Nato standard’ defences to discourage Vladimir Putin’s expansionist ambitions

By Imogen Horton for the Daily Mail 

Moldova could get modern weaponry to protect it from a Russian invasion, Liz Truss has said.

The Foreign Secretary revealed that talks were taking place to ensure the country had ‘Nato standard’ defences to discourage Vladimir Putin from embarking on any further expansion.

She accused the Russian president of wanting to create a ‘greater Russia’ and feared Moldova, south-west of Ukraine, could be Moscow’s next target.

‘I want to see Moldova equipped to Nato standard. This is a discussion we’re having with our allies,’ she told The Daily Telegraph.

‘Putin has been absolutely clear about his ambitions to create a greater Russia – and just because his attempts to take Kyiv weren’t successful, it doesn’t mean he’s abandoned those ambitions.’ 

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss revealed that talks were taking place to ensure the country had ‘Nato standard’ defences to discourage Vladimir Putin from embarking on any further expansion

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss revealed that talks were taking place to ensure the country had ‘Nato standard’ defences to discourage Vladimir Putin from embarking on any further expansion

If the talks are successful, members of the Nato military alliance will send high-tech weaponry to the non-Nato member Moldova and train their military to use it.

This would replace the country’s Soviet-era equipment Moldova currently has. 

Any sharing of military equipment would be indication that the UK and its allies see the invasion of Ukraine as a turning point in Russian relations.

Putin has previously signalled his intentions to join up with Russian-backed separatists in eastern Moldova.

Concerns were first raised when the Belarusian president, a long-time ally of Putin, Alexander Lukashenko appeared to reveal plans for an invasion of Moldova during a broadcast about Russian military movements in the early stages of the Ukraine war. 

‘It is hell there’: Ukrainian President Zelensky says the Donbas region has been ‘completely destroyed’ by Moscow’s forces 

President Volodymyr Zelensky has said the Donbas region in the east of the country has been ‘completely destroyed’.

His grim assessment came after weeks of Russia focusing its attacks and shelling in this area.

He added in an address to the nation: ‘It is hell there and that is not an exaggeration.’

 

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