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Russia cuts off gas to Finland amid wider push into Ukraine's east

Patrick J. McDonnell and Nabih Bulos, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

At a cemetery in Bucha — the suburb of Kiev now infamous for alleged Russian war crimes — many families took time on Saturday to visit the graves of relatives and friends lost in the war. Many mourners at the city cemetery described what they viewed as the heroism of the Ukrainian defenders of Mariupol, who held off a superior Russian force for weeks.

“They are our heroes, they fought to the end,” said Anton Adoniev, 26, who visited the grave of a soldier from Bucha who recently was killed in the Donbas. “We all have faith that Ukraine will triumph in the end.”

Meanwhile, Russian state gas company Gazprom confirmed on Saturday a complete halt in gas supplies as of 7 a.m. Moscow time to Gasum, Finland’s state-owned natural gas wholesaler, after Helsinki refused to pay in rubles.

“Payments for gas supplied from April 1 must be made in rubles … which the counterparties were informed of in a timely manner,” Gazprom said, according to a report from Russian state news operator TASS.

The cutoff comes days after Finland and Sweden reversed a decades-old policy of neutrality and sought to join NATO.

“It is highly regrettable that natural gas supplies under our supply contract will now be halted,” Gasum Chief Executive Mika Wiljanen said in a statement.

“However, we have been carefully preparing for this situation and provided that there will be no disruptions in the gas transmission network, we will be able to supply all our customers with gas in the coming months.”

And in another sign of the war’s increasing fallout beyond Ukraine’s borders, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the small country of Moldova southwest of Ukraine should be equipped “to NATO standard” militarily so as to repulse any Russian aggression.

 

Speaking to the Telegraph newspaper on Saturday, Truss said Ukraine should be “permanently able to defend itself” along with “vulnerable states” such as Moldova.

“I would want to see Moldova equipped to NATO standard,” she said. “This is a discussion we’re having with our allies.”

She added that Russian President Vladimir Putin “has been clear about his ambitions to create a greater Russia,” which would presumably include parts of Moldova, which like Ukraine is a former Soviet republic.

“And just because his attempts to take Kyiv weren’t successful doesn’t mean he’s abandoned those ambitions.”

Elsewhere, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, a Russian defense ministry spokesman, said his forces destroyed an arms shipment sent by the U.S. and Europe to Ukraine’s military.

“High-precision, long-range, sea-based Kalibr missiles in the area of the Malyn railway station in the Zhytomyr region destroyed a large batch of weapons and military equipment delivered from the United States and European countries,” Konashenkov said in a statement Saturday.

Malyn is about 60 miles northwest of Kyiv. Konashenkov said the weapons and materiel were to go to Ukrainian troops in the Donbas.

©2022 Los Angeles Times. Visit at latimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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