Russia’s defense ministry said British navy personnel blew up the Nord Stream gas pipelines last month, a claim that London said was false and designed to distract from Russian military failures in Ukraine.
Russia did not give evidence for its claim. The ministry said “British specialists” from the same unit directed Ukrainian drone attacks on ships of Russian Black Sea fleet in Crimea earlier on Saturday that it said were largely repelled by Russian forces, with minor damage to a Russian minesweeper.
* Russia said on Friday it had drafted 300,000 people in a month and is ending its call-up of reservists to fight in Ukraine, a divisive move that led to tens of thousands of Russian men fleeing and brought the first sustained public protest against the war.
* Russian conscripts are so poorly prepared and equipped that Moscow will soon need more men to send to the war, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Friday.
DIPLOMACY, GLOBAL IMPACT
* Russia said the accelerated deployment of modernized U.S. B61 tactical nuclear weapons at NATO bases in Europe would lower the “nuclear threshold” and that Russia would take the move into account in its military planning.
* The United Nations on Friday urged parties to renew a Black Sea grain and fertilizer deal for Ukrainian and Russian exports, with a U.N. spokesperson saying it would contribute to cushioning food supply shortages and the global cost of living crisis.
* The Ukrainian foreign minister told his Iranian counterpart on Friday to stop sending weapons to Russia; Iranian-made drones have been used by Russia to hobble Ukrainian energy infrastructure, Ukraine says. Iran and Russia deny the charge.
* Russia’s finance ministry has significantly cut expectations of taxable oil production for 2023, according to the draft budget for the next three years, in the expectation Western sanctions will mean an overall decline in output and refining volumes.
* Canada will sell a government-backed, 5-year bond to raise money for Ukraine, the first country to do so, and it will impose new sanctions on 35 Russians, including Gazprom executives, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday. (Compiled by Grant McCool and Frances Kerry)