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  • Ukraine says Russia “beginning the gas blackmail of Europe” after Moscow warned Poland and Bulgaria that it will cut off gas supplies.
  • After weeks of pressure, Germany says it will provide its first delivery of heavy weapons to Ukraine to help it fend off Russian attacks.
  • The United Nations says Russian President Vladimir Putin has agreed “in principle” to allow the evacuation of civilians from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol.
  • The Biden administration says it is seeking Russia’s “strategic defeat” in Ukraine and for the country to be isolated internationally.
INTERACTIVE Russia Ukraine War Who controls what Day 62
(Al Jazeera)

Here are all the latest updates:

32 mins ago (22:05 GMT)

Ukraine tears down monument symbolising friendship with Russia

A Soviet-era monument symbolising friendship between Russia and Ukraine was dismantled in Kyiv, the city’s mayor has said.

The statue depicted a Ukrainian and Russian worker on a plinth, holding aloft together a Soviet order of friendship. The statue was located underneath the ‘People’s Friendship Arch’, erected in 1982 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Soviet Union.

“This monument… symbolised friendship between Ukrainian and Russian nations. We now see what this ‘friendship’ is – destruction of Ukrainian cities, ruining the lives of Ukrainians, killing tens of thousands of peaceful people. I am convinced such a monument has an entirely different meaning now,” Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klitschko said.

45 mins ago (21:53 GMT)

Russian gas cut-off a ‘seismic warning shot’: Expert

Tom Marzec-Manser, head of gas analytics at data intelligence firm ICIS, has said Russia’s threat to suspend gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria is “a seismic warning shot”.

“Poland has had an anti-Russia and anti-Gazprom stance for a number of years, which is not the case for Bulgaria, so to see Bulgaria also be cut off is also quite a development in its own right,” he told the Reuters news agency.

Poland’s energy supplies are secure, its climate ministry said, adding that there was no need to draw from gas reserves and that gas to consumers would not be cut. Bulgaria said it has taken steps to find alternative gas supply and no restrictions on gas consumption was required for now.

1 hour ago (21:32 GMT)

UK FM to urge West ‘double down’ on Ukraine support

Countries opposed to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine must double down on their support for Kyiv, including the supply of heavy weapons, tanks and aeroplanes, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss will say in a speech.

“If Putin succeeds there will be untold further misery across Europe and terrible consequences across the globe. We would never feel safe again. So we must be prepared for the long haul and double down on our support for Ukraine,” she will say according to advance extracts of a speech she will give later on Wednesday to diplomats and business leaders in London.

“Heavy weapons, tanks, aeroplanes – digging deep into our inventories, ramping up production. We need to do all of this.”

2 hours ago (21:04 GMT)

Ukraine slams Russian threat as ‘gas blackmail’

Andriy Yermak, the chief of staff to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, has said Russia was “beginning the gas blackmail of Europe” by threatening to cut off supplies to Poland and Bulgaria.

“Russia is trying to shatter the unity of our allies. Russia is also proving that energy resources are a weapon,” Yermak said.

“That is why the [European Union] needs to be united and impose an embargo on energy resources, depriving the Russians of their energy weapons.”

2 hours ago (20:43 GMT)

Russian gas supplies being cut to Poland, Bulgaria: Gazprom

Russian energy giant Gazprom has told Poland and Bulgaria it will halt gas supplies to the two countries starting on Wednesday.

Poland and Bulgaria would be the first countries to have their gas cut off by Europe’s main supplier since Moscow started its all-out invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

Putin has demanded that countries he terms “unfriendly” agree to a scheme under which they would open accounts at Gazprombank and make payments for Russian gas imports in euros or dollars that would be converted into roubles.

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2 hours ago (20:28 GMT)

US offers $10m for information on cyber attackers

The US State Department is offering a $10m reward for information leading to the “identification or location of any person” engaged in cyber attacks against critical US infrastructure.

In a statement, the department said the US is specifically seeking information on six officers from the Russian military intelligence service (GRU) “for their role in a criminal conspiracy involving malicious cyber activities affecting US critical infrastructure”.

The US Justice Department had charged the same officers in 2020 in connection to a 2017 malware attack that targeted international and US businesses.

The reward offer comes as the US government is urging private sector companies to tighten their cyber defences against possible Russian attacks.

2 hours ago (20:15 GMT)

Canada to alter it sanctions law

The Canadian government will change its sanctions law to allow for seized and sanctioned foreign assets to be redistributed as compensation to victims or to help in rebuilding a foreign state from war, Foreign Minister Melanie Joly has said.

“Today, we are seeking the capacity to not only seize but to allow for the forfeiture of the assets of sanctioned individuals and entities and to allow us to compensate victims with the proceeds,” Joly said in a statement.

“These changes would make Canada’s sanctions regime the first in the G7 to allow these actions.”

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3 hours ago (20:05 GMT)

IAEA says it has agreed with Ukraine to help repair damage to Chernobyl

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has said he agreed with Ukraine to help repair the defunct Chernobyl nuclear power plant after it was occupied by Russian troops.

“It is visible that there is damage and we are assessing that,” IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi told a news conference in Kyiv after visiting the station.

3 hours ago (19:50 GMT)

US says it is seeking ‘strategic defeat’ for Russia

The US State Department spokesperson has said Washington is seeking a “strategic defeat” for Moscow in Ukraine that would leave Russia economically weaker and more isolated internationally.

“When we talk about strategic defeat, we’re talking about Moscow’s positioning in the international system,” Ned Price told reporters.

“The Moscow that prepared to invade and that on February 24 went forward with its invasion, will not be the same Russian Federation in terms of its positioning on the world stage.”

Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine.

Read all the updates from Tuesday, April 26 here.

Source: Al Jazeera

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