– Putin says sanctions ‘catastrophic’ for energy market –

Russian President Vladimir Putin warns of possible “catastrophic consequences” of Western sanctions on the global energy market.

“Continuing to use the politics of sanctions can lead to even more serious, without exaggeration — catastrophic — consequences on the world energy market,” he tells a televised government meeting.

Western countries have hit Moscow with a barrage of punitive measures since Putin launched his military campaign in Ukraine on February 24.

Moscow has in recent weeks slashed its gas deliveries to European states, which are still highly dependent on Russian hydrocarbons despite their recent efforts to find other suppliers.

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– Opposition city councillor jailed –

A Moscow court jails a city councillor for seven years for denouncing Putin’s Ukraine intervention.

Alexei Gorinov, 60, the first elected member of the opposition to be sentenced to jail for criticising Moscow’s military campaign, is found guilty of spreading “knowingly false information” about the Russian army.

During a March speech available on YouTube, he questioned plans for an art competition for children in his constituency while “every day children are dying” in Ukraine.

– Canada sanctions Russian Patriarch –

New Canadian sanctions target the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, a fervent supporter of Putin who has backed his war in Ukraine.

Zelensky Discusses Peace, Prisoners With Senior Vatican Official
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Zelensky Discusses Peace, Prisoners With Senior Vatican Official

President Zelensky praised the Vatican’s efforts in seeking peace and releasing prisoners of war in talks with a senior official, a contrast from previous tensions between Kyiv and the Holy See.

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova immediately denounces the move, saying “sanctions against the patriarch could only be introduced by Satanists”.

Britain last month also sanctioned the 75-year-old cleric. Two weeks earlier the EU had dropped him from its own sanctions list after opposition from Hungary.

– US announces more military aid –

The United States says it will send Ukraine more Himars rocket systems and new precision artillery shells, boosting its ability to target Russian arms depots and supply chains.

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A new $400-million arms package will include four Himars launchers with ammunition, according to a senior defence official.

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