Russia has reportedly reached the site of the US drone, CNN are reporting, citing officials. In a press conference following a rare call between Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley and his Russian counterpart, Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov, Milley said that the drone would be difficult to recover.
CNN reports that two officials said Russia had reached the MQ-9 crash site in the Black Sea.
Milley told reporters that the drone “probably sank to some significant depths, so any recovery operation from a technical standpoint would be very difficult”, but that the intelligence it had gathered would not be able to be accessed.
“It’s probably about maybe 4,000 or 5,000 feet of water, something like that. So, any recovery operation is very difficult at that depth by anyone,” Milley said.
“As far as the loss of anything of sensitive intelligence, et cetera, as normal, we would take – and we did take mitigating measures, so we are quite confident that whatever was of value is no longer of value.”
We are no longer receiving Russian gas, says Moldava energy minister
Ex-Soviet Moldova is no longer receiving Russian gas or enduring the “blackmail” imposed by gas giant Gazprom over its difficulties in paying for supplies, the country’s energy minister said.
Victor Parlicov, speaking to TV8 television on Wednesday evening, said Gazprom had been providing supplies only to Moldova’s Russian-backed Transdniestria separatist region since December, with none going to central authorities in Chisinau.
He said Moldova, wedged between Ukraine and European Union member Romania, was able to secure European supplies thanks to €300m ($318m) in credits from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
But Transdniestria, he said, has never paid Gazprom for the gas it receives.
“Transdniestria did’t pay for gas before and it’s not paying now,” Parlicov said. “Gazprom puts up with debts from there. But when the (rest of Moldova) was getting gas, the Russian company resorted to supply cuts, to blackmail.”
Gazprom had allowed this for 30 years, Parlicov said, to keep the pro-Russian sliver of land from collapsing.
“They understand that if they abandon this contract they will be practically be allowing the region to collapse,” he said.
Hello and welcome to today’s live coverage of the war in Ukraine. My name is Helen Sullivan and I’ll be bringing you the latest for the next while.
Our top story this morning: ex-Soviet Moldova is no longer receiving Russian gas or enduring the “blackmail” imposed by gas giant Gazprom over its difficulties in paying for supplies, the country’s energy minister said.
Moldova, one of Europe’s poorest countries, has been buffeted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the presence of pro-Russian separatists on its doorstep.
Led by pro-European President Maia Sandu, Moldova accuses Russia of plotting to destabilise it.
We’ll have more on this and other news shortly.
Here are the key recent developments:
Moscow said Wednesday it would try to retrieve the wreckage of a US military drone that crashed over the Black Sea, in a confrontation Washington blamed on two Russian fighter jets. US officials said the debris could be in such deep water that recovery is impossible, and would have no real intelligence value.
The Russian and US defence ministers and military chiefs held rare phone conversations on Wednesday to discuss the incident. Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu told his US counterpart Lloyd Austin on Wednesday that operating drone flights near Crimea was provocative and could lead to an escalation, the Russian Defence Ministry said. Russia, the statement said, “had no interest in such a development but will in future react in due proportion”.
Austin declined to offer any details on the call, including whether he criticised the Russian intercept. But he reiterated at a news conference that the US intended to continue flying where international law allowed and demanded Russian military aircraft operate in a safe and professional manner.
The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said that the incident was “being investigated”. Blinken declined to speak to the motive or intent behind the incident, saying he would let the investigation proceed and that the US is “in close coordination” with allies and partners on the matter.
The UK defence secretary, Ben Wallace, accused Russia of acting “unprofessionally”. Wallace’s comments reflect an emerging western view that the extraordinary mid-air incident was a one-off, not immediately meriting anything stronger than diplomatic complaints.
The Kremlin said on earlier on Wednesday that relations with the US were in a “lamentable state” and at their lowest level, after Washington accused Russia of downing one of its reconnaissance drones over the Black Sea.
Elsewhere, Ukrainian ground forces shot down a Russian fighter jet near the besieged eastern city of Bakhmut, a Ukrainian official has said. Andriy Yermak, the head of the Ukrainian president’s office, also said Kyiv’s forces had made gains in northern parts of the city.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Russian mercenary Wagner group, said Russian forces had taken control of the settlement of Zaliznyanskoye and are expanding the encirclement of Bakhmut. Neither side’s claims of success in what has become the longest-running battle since the war began could be verified.
Ex-Soviet Moldova is no longer receiving Russian gas or enduring the “blackmail” imposed by gas giant Gazprom over its difficulties in paying for supplies, the country’s energy minister said. Victor Parlicov, speaking to TV8 television on Wednesday evening, said Gazprom had been providing supplies only to Moldova’s Russian-backed Transnistria separatist region since December, with none going to central authorities in Chisinau.
Russia’s defence ministry will start a new recruitment campaign on 1 April, with the aim of recruiting 400,000 professional soldiers to the Russian army,according to a report. Russian military recruitment offices are trying to compensate for its losses in specialised soldiers, such as tank drivers and artillerymen, according to a separate report.
Turkey’s parliament is “highly likely” to ratify Finland’s Nato accession bid before mid-April, two Turkish officials told Reuters. Sweden and Finland applied last year to join the defence pact after Russia invaded Ukraine but faced objections from Turkey.