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The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Ukraine Live day 376

Publication: Ukraine Liveblogs
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The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Tensions Rise Over Gas Dispute And Assassination of Russian Opposition Leader

Ukraine is enduring a tenuous ceasefire that has been tested over the last week, as fighting has continued. Yesterday we reported that three Ukrainian servicemen had been killed in battle. Today the National Security and Defense Council reports that shelling has continued and two soldiers have been wounded. 

Those areas are all near Donetsk, where fighting continues north and west of the city.
However, the ceasefire is holding elsewhere:
In Artemivsk, however, two children have been killed by landmines. The Ukrainian government continues to report that they are attempting to clear the mines left by the Russian-backed rebels. 
Confirmation via LiveUAMap.com:

All of these issues continue to test the will of the Ukrainian government, but two other issues are increasing the stakes.

The first is the dispute over the over Ukraine's natural gas supplies. More than a week ago Ukraine cut gas supplies to parts of the Donbass, citing gas lines that had been damaged during the shelling. Russia began to directly supply the Donbass with gas, and soon after Ukraine reported that it had not received all of the gas it had pre-paid for from Russia. On the other hand Gazprom, the Russian energy giant, said that it had not received full payment for all of Ukraine's gas, and it threatened to shut of supply. CNN reports:

Russia's Tass state news agency said that Gazprom confirmed receiving $15 million Friday in prepayment from Ukraine. But that is enough to pay for only a day's supply of natural gas, the news agency said.

A meeting between the European Union, Russia and Ukraine is due to take place in Brussels, Belgium, on Monday to discuss gas supply to Ukraine.

Russia has used gas as a weapon before, cutting off supplies to Ukraine three times in the past decade. A new dispute could affect the rest of Europe. About a third of the European Union's natural gas comes from Russia, and 15% flows through Ukraine.

However, now that the worst of winter is over, the threat of a halt in the supply of gas is less alarming than it was for Ukraine and for the rest of Europe.

Another issue that may raise tensions -- Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says that Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was assassinated for standing up to Putin's war in Ukraine. Reuters reports:

Poroshenko paid tribute to Nemtsov, who was shot dead late on Friday, and said the fierce critic of President Vladimir Putin had told him a couple of weeks ago that he had proof of Russia's role in the Ukraine crisis and would reveal it.

"He said he would reveal persuasive evidence of the involvement of Russian armed forces in Ukraine. Someone was very afraid of this ... They killed him," Poroshenko said in televised comments during a visit to the city of Vinnytsia.

-- James Miller

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