EU imports of Russian liquified natural gas (LNG) have increased by 40% since the invasion of Ukraine despite efforts to cut down supplies, the Guardian reports.
Member states have bought more than half of Russia’s LNG on the market in the first seven months of this year, according to analysis of data by Kpler, which tracks marine and tanker traffic.
Spain and Belgium, which acts as major gateways for LNG supplies to the bloc, have emerged as the second and third-biggest customers of Russian LNG respectively after China.
“EU countries now buy the majority of Russia’s supply, propping up one of the Kremlin’s most important sources of revenue,” said Jonathan Noronha-Gant, a senior fossil fuel campaigner at the anti-corruption group Global Witness, which did the analysis.
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Russian air defences shot down a drone that was approaching Moscow on Thursday morning, the city’s mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, wrote on the Telegram messaging app.
Russian media reported that more than 40 flights were delayed on Thursday morning at the capital’s Vnukovo and Domodedovo airports, citing a flight tracking website.
Airports in Moscow have in the past weeks suspended flights repeatedly due to what Russian authorities said were Ukrainian drone attacks on the city.
Earlier, Russia said it had downed two Ukrainian drones in its southern Bryansk region a day after drones struck targets in at least six regions deep within Russia.
On Wednesday, Ukrainian drones struck targets deep within Russia, in one of the largest-scale attacks on Russia in months.
As well as Bryansk, drones hit an airport in the western Pskov region and were shot down over Moscow, Oryol, Ryazan and Kaluga.
The chief official in Crimea, annexed by Russia in 2014, said a cruise missile was also fired at the peninsula on Wednesday.
“Anti-aircraft forces in eastern Crimea have downed a cruise missile,” Sergei Aksyonov said on Telegram.
Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has decried corrupt medical exemptions that have enabled people to avoid military service, saying the system was subject to bribes and mass departures abroad.
Zelenskiy said the National Security and Defence Council had considered data showing the extent of false exemptions, bribe-taking and flight abroad since Russia’s February 2022 invasion. The investigation of dubious medical exemptions was still being conducted, he said.
“There are examples of regions where the number of exemptions from military service due to medical commission decisions has increased tenfold since February last year,” Zelenskiy said on Wednesday in his nightly video address.
“It is absolutely clear what sort of decisions these are. Corrupt decisions.”
He said the investigation had exposed corrupt practices in different regions and by officials in different positions, involving bribes ranging from $3,000 to $15,000.
Zelenskiy said a separate analysis was needed to determine the numbers of people who had fled abroad, largely on the basis of medical commission decisions.
“We are talking about at least thousands of individuals,” he said.
Zelenskiy this month dismissed all the heads of Ukraine’s regional army recruitment centres.
He said more than 100 criminal cases had been opened in a wide-ranging investigation launched after a graft scandal at a recruitment office in southern Odesa region last month.
Welcome back to our live coverage of the war in Ukraine. This is Mark Gerts bringing you the latest news.
Our top story this morning: Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has decried corrupt medical exemptions that have enabled people to avoid military service, saying the system was subject to bribes and mass departures abroad.
Meanwhile, Russian air defences shot down a drone that was approaching Moscow on Thursday morning, the city’s mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, said and Russia has claimed to have thwarted new Ukrainian attacks in its southern Bryansk region a day after drones struck targets in at least six areas deep within Russia.
More on these shortly. In other news:
At least two people were reported killed in Kyiv in what authorities described as the heaviest series of Russian airstrikes on the Ukrainian capital for months. Air defences shot down all 28 Russian missiles and 15 out of 16 drones, Gen Valerii Zaluzhnyi, commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s armed forces, said on Wednesday.
Six Ukrainian pilots were reportedly killed when two military helicopters crashed in the eastern Donetsk region. According to the Ukrainska Pravda newspaper, the two Mi-8 helicopters crashed in Kramatorsk on Tuesday. The aircraft were completely destroyed and the bodies of six dead servicemen were found.
Russian investigators are considering the possibility that the plane carrying the Wagner mercenary head Yevgeny Prigozhin was shot down on purpose, the Kremlin said on Wednesday in the first explicit acknowledgment of what most already believed to have been an assassination. “It is obvious that different versions are being considered, including … a deliberate atrocity,” the Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
Russia is in secret, active talks with North Korea to acquire a range of munitions and supplies, the White House has said. “Arms negotiations between Russia and the DPRK are actively advancing,” the White House national security spokesperson, John Kirby, said, adding that a key focus of the talks was artillery ammunition.
Tech companies including TikTok and Twitter failed to effectively tackle Russian disinformation online during the first year of the war in Ukraine, according to a study published on Wednesday by the EU. The independent study for the EU comes after tougher rules under its Digital Services Act kicked in this month for the world’s biggest online platforms.
The Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, and his Turkish counterpart will discuss a proposal by Moscow for an alternative to the Black Sea grain deal when they meet this week, Lavrov’s ministry has said. Under the plan, Russia would send a million tonnes of grain to Turkey at a discounted price, with financial support from Qatar, to be processed in Turkey and sent to countries most in need, the foreign ministry said.