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Moscow cuts gas supply to some E.U. states; explosions reported in Russia

Russia’s state-controlled gas company, Gazprom, shut off gas to Poland and Bulgaria on April 27. (Video: Reuters)
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Ukraine and its Western allies denounced Russia’s decision to cut off gas supplies to two European countries on Wednesday. The move, one of Moscow’s most powerful economic weapons, came after European Union leaders rejected Russian President Vladimir Putin’s demand to pay for the imports in rubles, his country’s currency. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the E.U. said the shut-off amounted to “blackmail,” and the White House accused the Kremlin of “weaponizing energy supplies.”

While the two targeted countries, Poland and Bulgaria, said they have enough gas for now, the action shows the potential perils of Europe’s dependence on Moscow for energy. Zelensky, who has urged the E.U. to cut economic ties with Russia, cast it as another example of how the relationship threatens European security.

Meanwhile, unexplained explosions in Russia have raised suspicions that Ukrainian forces could be behind at least some of the attacks, which would mark a milestone in the war. Ukrainian officials have declined to comment on what might have caused the blasts or claim credit for them, but an adviser to Zelensky suggested that “karma” may have been responsible. In Ukraine, widespread shelling continued in the east and Russia captured some settlements in the Donbas region, where Moscow is seeking full control.

Here’s what else to know

  • President Biden is scheduled to give a speech on U.S. support for Ukraine on Thursday.
  • The president announced Wednesday that Russia had freed former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed in a prisoner swap with Moscow.
  • More than half of the 90 howitzer artillery pieces that the United States pledged to Ukraine have already arrived, the Pentagon said.
  • As Moscow massed troops along the Ukrainian border this year, a new report from Microsoft says, Russian “wiper” cyberattacks on Ukrainian groups also intensified.
  • The Washington Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel for updates.
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