- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Russian energy behemoth Gazprom on Wednesday shut off gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria after the countries refused to pay in rubles.

The decision is the latest instance of Russia lashing out at countries for supporting Ukraine as Moscow batters the Donbas region of its neighbor.

It is unclear why Poland and Bulgaria were targeted since other countries have refused the Kremlin’s demands for payment in Russian currency, though the initial shut-off could be viewed as a warning to others. Hungary is the only European Union country that’s offered to pay in rubles.

Poland won’t face an emergency right away but supply for the rest of the year will be tight, according to the BBC, which reported that Poland’s state gas company bought 53% of its gas imports from Gazprom in the first quarter — down from 61% in the whole of last year but still a lot of supply to replace.

Also Wednesday, there were a number of explosions on Russian territory near Ukraine. At least one of the explosions hit an ammunition depot, according to The New York Times.

The blasts raise the prospect of a widening conflict amid fears that Moldova and its breakaway region, Transnistria, could be drawn into the fight, too, due to mysterious explosions on its soil.

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The U.S. and other western nations have stepped up efforts to arm Ukraine in its bid to repeal Vladimir Putin’s forces.

British intelligence officials on Wednesday said Ukraine retains control over the majority of its airspace.

Russia has failed to effectively destroy the Ukrainian Air Force or suppress Ukrainian air defenses,” the U.K. Ministry of Defence tweeted. “Ukraine continues to hold Russian air assets at risk.”

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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