Wednesday, February 8

Zelensky refutes allegations he has fled Ukraine, says he is still in Kyiv

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(Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky/Instagram)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky posted a video on his official Instagram account on Friday, saying he is still in the capital Kyiv and has not fled the country. 

“Every two days information comes out that I have fled somewhere — fled from Ukraine, from Kyiv, from my office. As you can see, I am here in my place, Andriy Borisovich (Yermak) is here. Nobody has fled anywhere. Here, we are working,” Zelensky said. 

“We like jogging, but now we don’t have time for that, for various cardio exercises,” he joked. “Working. Glory to Ukraine.”

Turn down the heat to stop Putin? Europe wrestles with its Russian gas addiction

When you turn on the heating in your home, you may not think much about where your energy comes from, let alone where the money you pay for it goes. For millions of people living in Europe, there’s a good chance that money is flowing to the Russian state — much of it into President Vladimir Putin’s war chest.

Russia has been building a network of natural gas pipelines throughout Europe since the 1960s. Washington has been warning its Western allies ever since that more Russian gas will only make Europeans more vulnerable to Moscow.

There are fears now that the Kremlin may turn off the supply of natural gas to the European Union, in retaliation for its support for Ukraine — Europe, among other allies, has been sending weapons and aid to Ukraine to help it defend itself against Russia’s invasion.

It’s only been just over a week, but so far, Russia has let the gas flow. But that presents another problem.

Money into the war chest: Russia is earning hundreds of millions of dollars a day from its oil and gas exports, undermining the financial sanctions Western powers have introduced to choke off financing for Putin’s war effort.

The European Union, Russia’s biggest gas customer, is now grappling with the reality that its energy spending has helped empower Putin to carry out a bloody war on its borders.

According to the European think thank Bruegel, with prices at record highs, the value of Russian natural gas exports to the European Union has soared to about €500 million ($545 million) every day. That’s up from about €200 million ($220 million) in February. Before the invasion, Russia was also exporting oil worth hundreds of millions a day to Europe.

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