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Putin talks ‘like negotiating with Hitler’, Polish president says

Poland’s president has criticised leaders for pursuing talks with Vladimir Putin, comparing their efforts to attempting peace discussions with Adolf Hitler in the Second World War.

Speaking to German newspaper Bild, Polish president Andrzej Duda slammed the leaders of France and Germany over their phone calls with Russian president.

“Did anyone speak like this with Adolf Hitler during World War Two?” Mr Duda said. “Did anyone say that Adolf Hitler must save face? That we should proceed in such a way that it is not humiliating for Adolf Hitler? I have not heard such voices.”

Both Emmanuel Macron and German chancellor Olaf Sholz have held private talks with Mr Putin over the invasion of Ukraine.

It comes as a brutal siege continues in Ukraine’s eastern Sievierodonetsk which president Zelensky has said will decide the fate of separatist territory Donbas.

Russia’s Navalny scolds Google and Meta for helping Putin

Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny scolded Google and Meta on Thursday for shutting down advertising, a step he said had undermined the opposition and thus was a gift to President Vladimir Putin.

Navalny, by far Russia’s most prominent opposition leader, casts Putin’s Russia as a dystopian state run by thieves and criminals where wrong is cast as right and judges are in fact representatives of a doomed lawless country.

In a written address to the Copenhagen Democracy Summit, Navalny, who is currently in a Russian jail, said technology was being used by the state to arrest dissidents but that it also gave an opportunity to get to the truth.

“The Internet gives us the ability to circumvent censorship,” Navalny said in the address, a copy of which was posted on his official blog.

“Yet, at the same time, Google and Meta, by shutting down their advertising in Russia, have deprived the opposition of the opportunity to conduct anti-war campaigns, giving a grandiose gift to Putin.”

Neither Google nor Meta immediately responded to a request for comment on Navalny’s remarks. Both companies paused advertising targetting users in Russia in March, just days after Russia invaded Ukraine.

Kremlin says no more gas cuts to European customers expected

The Kremlin said on Thursday it does not expect Gazprom to cut gas supplies to any more European customers, adding that its scheme to make buyers pay for their gas in roubles was functioning as intended.

Gazprom has cut supplies to some European countries for refusing to make payments for Russian gas in roubles under a new scheme the Kremlin set up in response to Western sanctions.

Russia has cut gas supplies to Finland and Poland during the course of its invasion of Ukraine.

After Western powers sanctioned Russia over the war, Russia said “unfriendly” countries must pay for gas using the Russian currency, a move the EU considers blackmail.

Ukraine regains some territory in counter-offensive in Kherson area

The Ukrainian defence ministry said on Thursday that its forces had won back some territory from Russian forces in a counter-offensive in the Kherson area of southern Ukraine.

It gave no details but said the Russian forces had “suffered losses in manpower and equipment”, mined territory as they were pushed back and erected barricades for the Ukrainian troops.

Kherson was one of the first major cities to be captured by Russia, with Putin’s troops taking control of it within the first week of its invasion.

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