BERLIN — Germany’s economy minister said he was triggering the early warning level for gas supplies as Russia continued to demand payment in roubles.

Robert Habeck told reporters on Wednesday that this was the first of three levels of alert and involved the establishment of a crisis team in his ministry which will step up monitoring of the supply situation. in gas.

Habeck said he took the step after Moscow indicated it would demand payment in rubles despite the Group of Seven countries rejecting such demands on Monday.

He says German gas storages are currently filled to around 25% capacity.

Political cartoons about world leaders

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KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIAN-UKRAINE WAR:

– Russian promise to shrink Ukraine arouses skepticism

– UN food chief: Ukraine war food crisis worst since WWII

— After the withdrawal of Russian forces, a broken city breathes

— Sanctioned oligarch Abramovich seen during Russia-Ukraine talks

– The Pentagon may need more budgetary funds to help Ukraine

— Ukraine’s other struggle: Growing food for itself and the world

— Go to https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine for more coverage

LONDON — Britain’s Ministry of Defense says Russia’s stated focus on breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine “is probably a tacit admission that it struggles to maintain more than one axis of defense.” ‘significant advance’.

In a daily war assessment, the ministry said on Wednesday that Russian units suffering heavy losses were forced to return to Belarus and Russia to reorganize and resupply. It says such activity puts additional pressure on Russia’s already strained logistics and demonstrates the difficulties Russia is having in reorganizing its units in forward areas of Ukraine.

He noted, however, that the change is unlikely to mean relief for civilians in towns that have been subjected to relentless Russian bombardment. He expects Moscow to continue to compensate for the reduction in ground maneuvers with massive artillery and missile strikes.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed skepticism on Tuesday night over Russia’s announcement that it would drastically reduce military operations near the Ukrainian capital and a northern town.

“Yes, we can qualify as positive these signals that we hear during the negotiations. But these signals do not silence Russian shell explosions,” Zelenskyy said. “Of course, we see the risks. Of course, we see no reason to trust the words spoken by those or other state officials who continue to fight for our destruction.

Negotiations are set to resume on Wednesday, five weeks after what turned into a bloody war of attrition, with thousands dead and nearly 4 million Ukrainians fleeing the country.

“Ukrainians are not naive people,” Zelenskyy said. “The Ukrainians have already learned during the 34 days of the invasion and during the last eight years of war in the Donbass that one can only rely on concrete results.”

Ukraine’s delegation to the conference, which was held in Istanbul, established a framework in which the country would declare itself neutral and its security would be guaranteed by a range of other nations.

Ukraine’s ambassador to the UN, Sergiy Kyslytsya, told the UN Security Council on Tuesday that “Russia’s demilitarization is on track.”

Since the start of the invasion of Ukraine, Kyslytsya said the Russian occupiers had lost more than 17,000 military personnel, more than 1,700 armored vehicles and almost 600 tanks.

He also said that Russia also lost 300 artillery systems, 127 aircraft and 129 helicopters, nearly 100 rocket launcher systems, 54 air defense systems and seven ships.

Kyslytsya said it was “an unprecedented blow to Moscow, where the number of Soviet casualties in Afghanistan pales in comparison.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Russia announced it would drastically reduce military operations near the Ukrainian capital and a northern town, as outlines of a possible deal to end the bitter war emerged during the latest round of talks.

Negotiations are set to resume on Wednesday, five weeks after what turned into a bloody war of attrition, with thousands dead and nearly 4 million Ukrainians fleeing the country.

Ukrainian military officials have said they are wary of Russia’s announced withdrawal from areas around Kyiv and Chernihiv.

Earlier on Tuesday, Russia announced it would drastically reduce military operations near the Ukrainian capital and a northern town, as outlines of a possible deal to end the bitter war emerged during the latest round of talks.

“There are indications that Russian forces are regrouping to focus their efforts on eastern Ukraine,” Ukraine’s general staff said in a statement on Tuesday. “At the same time, the so-called ‘troop withdrawal’ is most likely a rotation of individual units and is intended to mislead the Ukrainian military leadership” by creating the misconception that the Russians have decided not to try to encircle kyiv.

Ukraine’s delegation to the conference, held in Istanbul, established a framework in which the country would declare itself neutral and its security would be guaranteed by a range of other nations.

Negotiations were due to resume on Wednesday, five weeks after what turned into a bloody war of attrition, with thousands dead and nearly 4 million Ukrainians fleeing the country.

UN food chief warns war in Ukraine has created ‘disaster on top of disaster’ and will have global impact ‘beyond anything we’ve seen since World War II’ because the farmers of the country that used to be the breadbasket of the world are on the front line to fight Russia and the already high food prices are skyrocketing.

David Beasley, executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme, told the UN Security Council on Tuesday that his agency, which fed 125 million people before Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine, was beginning already cut rations due to increased food, fuel and shipping costs for millions of families around the world. In war-torn Yemen, he said, 8 million people have just had their food allowance reduced to 50% “and now we are looking at going to zero rations”.

The war in Ukraine is decimating the country, “turning the breadbasket of the world into bread” for millions of its people, Beasley said. But it is also devastating countries around the world like Egypt which is 85% dependent on Ukrainian grain and Lebanon which was 81% dependent in 2020.

Ukraine and Russia produce 30% of the world’s wheat supply, 20% of the world’s corn supply and 75-80% of sunflower oil.

Russia and Ukraine have traded accusations over naval mines that have been laid adrift in the Black Sea, threatening shipping.

The Russian military alleged that the Ukrainian army had used old naval mines to protect the coast against a Russian landing and that some of them had been torn from their anchors by a storm and left adrift.

Russian Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev reiterated on Tuesday that “the threat of Ukrainian mines drifting along the coasts of the Black Sea states remains”.

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry responded in a statement on Tuesday, accusing Russia of using Ukrainian mines it seized after the annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014 and setting them adrift to “discredit the ‘Ukraine in front of international partners’.

The Turkish Defense Ministry said on Saturday that a naval mine had been spotted near the Bosphorus and neutralized. He said the mine was an old type but did not specify who owned it.

Contradictory claims by Russia and Ukraine could not be independently verified.

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said Tuesday he is not yet convinced that Russia’s announcement to scale back military operations near the Ukrainian capital of kyiv will bring about a fundamental change in the war.

During an appearance with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong following bilateral talks at the White House, Biden said he was waiting to see what Russia offers in ongoing talks with Ukraine and how Moscow readjusts its military presence.

U.S. and Western officials expressed skepticism over Russia’s announcement earlier Tuesday that it would recall operations in a bid to boost confidence in ongoing talks between Ukrainian and Russian officials in Turkey.

“We’ll see,” Biden said. “I don’t see it until I see what their actions are.”

White House communications director Kate Bedingfield later expressed even greater skepticism, saying the administration viewed any movement of Russian forces as “redeployment, not withdrawal” and that “no one should be fooled by Russia’s announcement”.

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