Ukraine disrupts flow of Russian gas

Ukrainian officials said Wednesday that they have shut down Russian supplies of natural gas that flow through a Ukraine hub to other European countries, as military officials said they have made some gains in the northeast.

Ukraine said it halted supplies of gas at a critical hub mainly because of interference from Moscow. Officials said the gas, however, would be rerouted through areas controlled by Ukraine.

It wasn’t immediately known what the impact would be, but it comes as the fighting in Ukraine has interrupted world energy markets.

Russia, a major supplier of natural gas and petroleum, has faced sanctions and export bans from multiple countries — including the United States — in the weeks since it invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian military officials said Wednesday that forces have made some strategic gains in northeastern Ukraine.

A military chief in Oleh Sinegubiv in the Kharkiv region said Ukrainian forces have been successful in pushing out Russian troops, but have also discovered an extensive network of land mines.

“The enemy completely mined everything,” Sinegubiv said, according to NBC News, adding that schools and private homes in the area had also been mined.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Wednesday that Ukrainian forces scored new victories and recaptured four villages near Kharkiv.

Officials in Moscow said that Russian forces struck close to 100 objects in Ukraine early Wednesday, including two command posts and three ammunition depots. Russia also said air defense systems destroyed several unmanned Ukrainian aerial vehicles.

Ukraine’s health ministry said Russian troops raided hospitals in the eastern town of Kreminna looking for equipment.

“The Russians were shocked by the equipment of our hospitals, so they did not delay and in the first days of the occupation began to dismantle the equipment and transport it to Luhansk or Russia,” Luhansk Gov. Serhiy Haidai said, according to NBC News.

There has been fighting in the Kharkiv region virtually since the Russian invasion began in February and the city, Ukraine’s second-largest, was under Russian control for weeks. Officials said earlier this week that dozens of bodies were found in a residential building in nearby Izyum after Russian troops left.

On Thursday, a 15-year-old volunteer was killed in shelling at the Feldman Ecopark zoo in Kharkiv.

The war in Ukraine is nearing four months and some intelligence officials are growing concerned about what the Kremlin might do if the fighting drags on or it begins to perceive an existential threat.

U.S. National Intelligence Director Avril Haines told a Senate panel on Tuesday that she believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin has prepared for a long conflict and thinks that Russian forces can outlast their Ukrainian counterparts and Western allies.

“The next month or two of fighting will be significant as the Russians attempt to reinvigorate their efforts. But even if they are successful, we are not confident that the fight in the Donbas will effectively end the war,” Haines said.

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