May 11 (Reuters) – Flows of Russian gas to Europe through a transit point into Ukraine dried up on Wednesday, while Kyiv reported battlefield gains over invading Russian forces that could signal a shift in the war’s momentum.
* Russian forces are trying to stop Ukrainian troops moving further towards the border in the Kharkiv region and trying to fully capture the town of Rubizhne, Ukraine’s general staff said on Wednesday.
* Ukrainian troops recaptured four settlements north of Kharkiv in recent days, a spokesperson for the main Ukrainian force there said on Tuesday.
*The war in Ukraine will slow down economic growth in the European Union but not stall it, the bloc’s trade commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said in Marrakech at a meeting of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
He said the EU was ready to extend its suspension of import duties and quotas for all Ukrainian imports and was preparing a plan to move away from dependence on Russian fossil fuels.
* Russia is trying to reinforce exposed troops on Zmiinyi Island, which could enable it to dominate the northwestern Black Sea, Britain’s Ministry of Defence said.
DIPLOMACY AND SANCTIONS
* Requests for Russian gas for May 11 via Ukraine at the Sokhranovka entry point fell to zero, data from Ukraine’s gas pipeline operator showed on Wednesday, a day after it said it would redirect gas to another transit hub in a Ukraine-controlled area.
* Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday that Moscow did not want war in Europe, but that Western countries were keen to see Russia defeated in its military campaign in Ukraine.”If you are worried about the prospect of war in Europe – we do not want that at all,” Lavrov said at a news conference in Muscat after talks with his Omani counterpart.”But I draw your attention to the fact that it is the West that is constantly and persistently saying that in this situation, it is necessary to defeat Russia. Draw your own conclusions.”
* Planned EU oil sanctions against Russia would destroy the Hungarian economy and does not offer a solution to the huge problems it would create, Hungary’s foreign minister said on Wednesday.
* The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday approved more than $40 billion more aid for Ukraine as Congress races to keep military aid flowing and boost the government in Kyiv.
* The new leader of the Georgian breakaway region of South Ossetia said on Wednesday it would wait for a signal from Moscow before holding a referendum on joining Russia.
* Thousands more civilians have been killed in Ukraine than the official toll of 3,381 and more than 8 million internally displaced, the head of the United Nations’ human rights monitoring mission said.
(Compiled by Robert Birsel and John Stonestreet)