Russia-Ukraine talks to resume; Russian gas continues to flow to Europe. Follow our live updates

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Russian gas continues to flow into Europe, Russia’s Gazprom says

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Russian state-owned energy conglomerate Gazprom said Friday that its natural gas continued to flow into Europe via Ukraine, Reuters reported.

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It comes as European countries face a deadline to start paying for gas in rubles on Friday, or have existing contracts with Russia halted. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Thursday that said foreign buyers would have to pay in rubles for Russian gas from April 1, Reuters reported.

European countries seem relatively unfazed by Putin’s rhetoric, however, and appear to have found a workaround.

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A German government readout of a call with Putin on Wednesday said the Russian president had informed Scholz gas deliveries would have to be settled in rubles from April 1. “At the same time, [Putin] stressed in the conversation that nothing would change for the European contractual partners,” the readout said.

— Chloe Taylor and Sam Meredith

Russia-Ukraine talks to continue

Talks between Russian and Ukrainian officials are set to resume today, according to a member of Ukraine’s delegation.

David Arakhamia, a Ukrainian official who has taken part in the negotiations, said on Ukrainian television earlier this week that Russia and Ukraine would resume their talks on April 1.

A round of in-person talks between the two sides took place in Istanbul, Turkey, earlier this week. It is not clear whether the talks slated to start Friday are in-person or virtual.

— Chloe Taylor

Ukraine regains control of some villages near Chernihiv, Britain says

Ukrainian forces have retaken two villages along one of the main supply routes between Kyiv and the northern city of Chernihiv, according to the UK Ministry of Defense,

The villages are Sloboda and Lukashivka, which are south of Chernihiv, the ministry said in its daily update.

“Ukraine has also continued to make successful but limited counter attacks to the east and north east of Kyiv,” the defense ministry said.

“Both Chernihiv and Kyiv have been subjected to continued air and missile strikes despite Russian claims of reducing activity in these areas,” it added.

Military developments are difficult to confirm as the situation on the ground in Ukraine changes constantly.

— Abigail Ng

Anonymous targets Western companies still doing business in Russia

Anonymous, the “hacktivist” collective, has a new target in its “cyber war” against Russia. This time, it’s Western companies that are still doing business there.

A post on March 21 from a Twitter account named @YourAnonTV stated: “We call on all companies that continue to operate in Russia by paying taxes to the budget of the Kremlin’s criminal regime: Pull out of Russia!”

The tweet gave companies 48 hours to comply. The threat also included a photo with logos of some 40 companies, including household names such as Burger King, Subway and General Mills. A second batch of target companies was published on March 24, which included Emirates airline, the French gardening retailer Leroy Merlin and the essential oil company Young Living.

However, some companies that were mentioned refuted Anonymous’ claims.

For example, tire firm bridgestone and Dunkin’ said before they were targeted by Anonymous, they had already publicly announced that they were pulling business from Russia. Three targeted oil field service companies — halliburton, Baker Hughes and Schlumberger — had also issued announcements previously. Others soon announced they were cutting ties with Russia, including the Canadian oilfield service company Calfrac Well Services and the sanitary product maker Geberit Group

Even so, a quick exit may be complicated for franchises. That’s the position that targeted companies like Burger King, Subway and Reebok’s owner Authentic Brands Groupsaid they are in.

— Goh Chiew Tong, Monica Buchanan Pitrelli

Reuters reports Japan’s decision to keep using Russian gas was made weeks ago

Japan’s prime minister, Fumio Kishida, decided weeks ago that he would not abandon a Russian gas project, Reuters reported, citing three sources.

The report said Kishida in early March told top officials that he wouldn’t risk Japan’s energy security, and would stay in the Sakhalin-2 liquefied natural gas project.

On Thursday, the prime minister told parliament that “it is not our policy to withdraw” from that Russian LNG project.

Japan has targeted Russian banks and oligarchs with sanctions, but doesn’t have much leeway to cut off gas from Russia. The Asian country became more reliant on Russian energy after it shut down nuclear reactors following the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

— Abigail Ng

Read CNBC’s previous live coverage here:

You can read Thursday’s coverage of the war in Ukraine here:

Russian troops leave Cornobyl; UK spy chief says Putin ‘massively misjudged’ war


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