Euro falls below $1.06 for first time in five years

The euro fell below $1.06 for the first time in five years on Wednesday morning amid fears over Europe’s energy security and economic growth.

The euro fell to a five-year low of $1.05860 after Russian gas giant Gazprom announced on Wednesday it had cut gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria. By mid-morning, the single currency was trading at $1.0614.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the ongoing war, now in its third month, have rattled the euro, which has fallen 3.5% against the dollar since early April.

Holly Ellyat

Russia says it hit weapons depot housing weapons supplied by US and Europe

The Russian Defense Ministry said it struck an arms depot that houses a “large batch of foreign weapons and ammunition supplied by the United States and European countries to Ukrainian troops”.

The statement, which the Defense Ministry posted on its Telegram account, said high-precision, long-range sea-based Kalibr missiles hit the depot in the Zaporizhzhia region.

The ministry also said its air force destroyed 59 Ukrainian military installations overnight, including four other weapons and ammunition warehouses.

CNBC was unable to independently confirm Russia’s claim. Moscow has warned Western countries against continuing to supply arms to Ukraine, saying such supplies are legitimate targets.

Holly Ellyat

Natural gas prices rise as Moscow plays with European supplies

Natural gas prices are rising in Europe after Russia halted deliveries to Poland and Bulgaria on Wednesday.

The Dutch wholesale gas contract for the day ahead, a benchmark for Europe, rose 24.2% this morning to 115.75 euros per megawatt hour, while the price of natural gas in the United Kingdom for June rose about 20 pence to 222 pence per therm.

Early Wednesday morning, Gazprom issued a statement saying it had halted deliveries to Poland and Bulgaria – two big consumers of Russian gas – due to payments not being made in Russian currency. He said supplies would resume once those payments were made.

The move also coincides with a sharp rise in tensions between Western allies and Russia as the war in Ukraine drags on into a third month.

Holly Ellyat

Russia cuts off gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria

Polish oil and gas company PGNiG said Russian gas giant Gazprom informed it on Tuesday that it would stop gas deliveries which are delivered through the Yamal pipeline on Wednesday morning.

Igor Roussak | Image Alliance | Getty Images

Gas supplies from Russia to Poland and Bulgaria were cut off Wednesday morning after the countries refused Moscow’s request to pay for the gas supply in roubles.

Russian gas giant Gazprom had contacted state-owned Polish and Bulgarian gas companies on Tuesday to tell them that their supplies would be cut off on Wednesday. Poland said its supplies were cut off today, while the situation in Bulgaria is more uncertain.

Polish oil and gas company PGNiG said Russian gas giant Gazprom informed it on Tuesday that it would stop gas deliveries which are delivered through the Yamal pipeline on Wednesday morning.

PGNiG said in a statement on Tuesday that the company is monitoring the situation “and is ready to deal with various scenarios” and to receive gas from other sources, but said it currently has sufficient gas in storage and is responding to Requirement.

The shutdown of gas supplies to Poland, which imports around 45% of its natural gas from Russia, according to recent EU data, is another sign of rising tensions between Russia and the West. following the invasion of Ukraine. An official in kyiv described Russia’s latest move to cut supplies as “gas blackmail”.

Bulgaria imported almost 73% of its natural gas from Russia in 2020, according to EU data.

Russia had demanded that gas-importing countries (the EU as a bloc imports about 40% of its natural gas from Russia every year) must pay in rubles, prompting a backlash from importers, including Poland and Bulgaria, who refused and said the request was a breach of contract.

Holly Ellyat

Global sanctions will set Russia’s economic gains back 20 years, Blinken says

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken listens during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in Washington, U.S., April 26, 2022. Blinken and the Secretary of Defense pledged a total of $713 million on Monday dollars in foreign military funding for Ukraine and 15 allied and partner nations.

Al-Draco | Reuters

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he believes the Russians are feeling the effects of several rounds of coordinated global sanctions for the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine.

“I think what we’re seeing is that people in Russia are increasingly feeling the effects of Putin’s disastrous decision to attack Ukraine,” Blinken said in testimony before the Senate committee. foreign relations.

“For example, more than 600 companies have left Russia, including many big consumer brands that we all know and know,” he said, adding: “They can’t buy the things that we all know. ‘they used to buy for the past 30 years.’

The country’s top diplomat said the gains of the past 20 years were being erased and Moscow’s ability to modernize key sectors of its economy was slowing. Despite all this, Blinken said he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin still enjoys broad support from his citizens, largely due to disinformation campaigns.

“For now, I think what we are seeing is that the Russian people, as far as they are informed, continue to be largely supportive of President Putin,” Blinken added.

In the weeks following Russia’s invasion of its former Soviet neighbor, Washington and its allies imposed a series of coordinated sanctions that pushed Russia ahead of Iran and North Korea as the most sanctioned countries in the world. world.

Amanda Macias

US to return diplomats to Ukraine this week, Blinken says

A woman walks past the closed United States Embassy to Ukraine on April 25, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine.

John Moore | Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken told lawmakers the United States was returning its diplomats to Ukraine this week.

The country’s top diplomat added that the State Department was also working on plans to reopen its embassy in Kyiv.

“We are returning diplomats to Ukraine this week and they will begin to assess how we can most efficiently and safely reopen the embassy in kyiv. And without going into too much detail in this context, I anticipate that we will be in Lviv and then in Kyiv subject to the final decision of the president,” Blinken said during testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“We want our embassy to reopen and we are working on it,” he added.

On Monday, President Joe Biden announced his intention to nominate Bridget Brink as US Ambassador to Ukraine. Brink, a career diplomat, is currently the United States Ambassador to the Slovak Republic.

Amanda Macias

US Secretary of Defense Austin calls Russian nuclear war rhetoric ‘very dangerous and unnecessary’

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks to the media after the Ukrainian Security Advisory Group meeting at the Ramstein Air Base April 26, 2022 in Ramstein-Miesenbach, Germany. Reunion is a US

Thomas Lohnes | Getty Images

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin called Russia’s recent rhetoric about the potential use of its nuclear weapons “very dangerous and unnecessary”.

“Nobody wants to see a nuclear war that nobody can win. And while we’re doing things, we’re always mindful of making sure we have the right balance and we’re taking the right approach,” Austin told reporters. during a press briefing. at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

“There is always a possibility that a number of things will happen, but again I think it is unnecessary and dangerous to shake sabers and speculate on the use of nuclear weapons,” said Austin, following a trip to kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, alongside Secretary of State Antony. Blinker.

Austin’s remarks come after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned that his country’s war with Ukraine could escalate into a nuclear war.

Lavrov said Monday evening that the risks of nuclear war are now “very, very significant and should not be underestimated.”

Amanda Macias

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