The Ukrainians are concentrating Russian gas on one center and making a profit in the East

JABORISHIA, Ukraine (AP) – Ukraine on Wednesday halted the flow of Russian natural gas through a feeding center for European homes and stoves, while the Kyiv military said it had had some success in waging war near the main northeastern city.

In 11 weeks, the war It played on the battlefields in Ukrainian cities and towns, but also in the energy and financial markets as Ukraine’s allies in the West sought to extort money from Russia to finance the war with sanctions and energy sanctions.

The practical impact of Wednesday’s gas cutoff for European households was not immediately clear: Ukraine’s pipeline operator said it would shift supplies to another hub, and traffic should not be affected, an analyst said.

But the Russian state-owned giant Gazprom noted some setbacks: it said it was sending 72 million cubic meters of gas supplies to Europe via Ukraine, apparently down 25% from the previous day.

Initial flow data suggested that higher rates would move through the second station under Ukrainian control. Russian gas flows to Europe through other pipelines.

It is also unclear whether Russia will have any immediate impact, as it has long-term agreements and other means of transporting gas.

But the move could have symbolic significance as Ukraine has disrupted flow to the west for the first time. The European Union (EU) is seeking to reduce Russia’s dependence on energy, gradually reducing its use of coal and doing so for oil. Gas presents a very complex problem, considering both how much Europe uses it and the technical problems of getting it elsewhere.

On the battlefield, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the Ukrainian army had evacuated Russian troops from four villages near Kharkiv – the country’s second-largest city, and was key to Russia’s offensive in eastern Donbass.

After his forces failed to capture the capital in the early days of the warRussian President Vladimir Putin has turned his attention to the industrial hub of Ukraine, which for years has been a battleground between pro-Moscow separatists and Ukrainian troops.

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Zhelensky suggested that the army gradually withdraw Russian troops from Kharkiv. As his forces appear to be gathering steam in a new counterattack, Foreign Minister Dimitrov Kuleba appeared on Tuesday to boost self-confidence – and expanded targets -. He suggested to the Financial Times that Ukraine could go beyond forcing Ukraine into areas that had been withdrawn from Russia 11 weeks before the invasion began.

Guleba’s statement seemed to reflect political aspirations rather than the realities of the war: Russian forces have made progress in the Donbass and controlled it more than they did before the war began. But it illustrates how Ukraine has paralyzed a large, well-armed Russian army, much to the surprise of many who had hoped for a more speedy end to the conflict.

Meanwhile, the British Defense Ministry said that Ukraine was targeting Russian forces on Snake Island in the northwestern Black Sea in an attempt to thwart Moscow’s efforts to expand its influence.

Russia has been trying to strengthen its garrison on Snake Island, while “Ukraine has successfully attacked Russian air defense and reconnaissance ships with pirate drones,” the ministry said on Twitter. It said Russian reconnaissance vessels had minimal security after the Russian navy retreated to Crimea after losing its Black Sea naval headquarters..

Satellite photos surveyed by the Associated Press show the fighting there.

But the report warned: “If Russia stabilizes its position on the (snake) island with strategic air defense and coastal defense missiles, they could dominate the northwestern Black Sea.”

Ukraine’s natural gas pipeline operator has said it will suspend Russian exports through a center in eastern Ukraine controlled by Moscow-backed separatists due to the intervention of “occupying forces”. There were also complaints of disruption to the route last month.

The benchmark European gas future was seen in the news on Tuesday and Wednesday, meaning consumers will face higher energy tariffs – at a time when prices are already rising.

Higher prices will benefit Russia, however it has massive foreign reserves, and global travel and trade have resumed following mass corona virus outbreaks in recent months due to the rapid rise in crude oil prices.

The center in question handles about a third of Russian gas going to Western Europe via Ukraine. Gazprom, Russia’s state – owned natural gas company, accounts for a quarter of that number.

The move comes as Western powers seek to increase economic pressure on Moscow and strengthen Ukraine’s defenses. The US House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a $ 40 billion Ukraine aid package.

On Wednesday, Ukrainian officials said a Russian rocket attack targeted the area around Zaporizhia and destroyed unspecified infrastructure. There were no immediate reports of injuries. The southeastern city has been a refuge for many civilians who escaped the Russian siege of the devastated port city of Mariupol.

With most of the fighting concentrated in the east, some analysts have suggested that Russia may be trying to thin out Kiev’s forces by attacking the southern port of Odessa, the main gateway to the world’s food grains. As well as a major transportation point for Western weapons. Russia targeted the city with several missile attacks this weekThe Ukrainians said Tuesday.

To protect Odessa, Kiev forces must be shifted southwest and dragged from the east in the Donbass, where they are fighting to push the Russians across the border near Kharkiv.

According to the Ukrainian Border Patrol, a Russian plane fired two unmanned missiles on Tuesday in the Sumi area northeast of Kharkiv. The governor of the region said the missiles hit several residential buildings but no one was killed. Russian motors attacked the Chernihiv region on the Ukrainian border with Belarus, but there was no word on casualties.

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Cambrell reported from LV in Ukraine. Yesica Fisch in Bakhmut, David Keyton in Kyiv, Yuras Karmanau in Lviv, Mstyslav Chernov in Karkiv, Lolita C. Baldor in Washington, Kelvin Chan in London and global staff of AP.

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Follow the AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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