(Reuters) – The United States and its allies pledged new packages of ever heavier weapons for Ukraine as the war entered its third month, and Russia appeared set to make good on its threat to turn off gas supplies to Europe.
* Russia said it would turn off gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria on Wednesday after weeks of threats that it would cut off supply to countries who refuse to pay for gas in roubles.
SPILLOVER INTO MOLDOVA?
* Ukraine accused Moscow of trying to drag Moldova’s breakaway region of Transdniestria into its war after authorities in the Russia-backed region, adjacent to southwest Ukraine, said they had been targeted by a series of attacks.
* The United States hosted defence talks in Germany, involving over 40 countries, that sought to speed and synchronize the delivery of arms to Ukraine.
* United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told Russia’s foreign minister he was ready to mobilise U.N. resources to evacuate people from the besieged city of Mariupol.
* Germany announced its first delivery of heavy weapons – Gepard tanks with anti-aircraft guns – to Ukraine after weeks of pressure at home and abroad.
Reports of battlefield developments below could not be immediately verified by Reuters:
* Ukraine’s general staff said Russia’s offensive continued in the eastern regions of Kharkiv and Donetsk, where it said they were taking “actions along almost the entire line of contact”.
* Russia is probably trying to encircle heavily fortified Ukrainian positions in the east, the British military said.
* Russia’s defence ministry said its forces had “liberated” the entire Kherson region in the south of Ukraine, according to Interfax news agency.
HUMAN AND ECONOMIC IMPACT
* Ukrainian farmers in the southern region of Zaporizhzhia that borders the frontline are wearing body armour to plough their fields. Ukraine is the world’s fifth-biggest exporter of wheat.
* Nuclear engineer Liudmyla Kozak was part-way through a 12-hour overnight shift at the defunct Chornobyl plant when Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24 and workers heard explosions. What followed were the most dramatic events at the plant since the 1986 nuclear disaster.
* One of President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies said Ukraine was spiralling towards a collapse into several states because of what he cast as a U.S. attempt to use Kyiv to undermine Russia.
* “NATO, in essence, is engaged in a war with Russia through a proxy and is arming that proxy. War means war.” – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
* “Nations from around the world stand united in our resolve to support Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s imperial aggression.” – U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin
(Editing by Mark Heinrich and Rosalba O’Brien)