The Morning Dispatch: The Pressure Builds on Kevin McCarthy

Happy Wednesday! All the musical theater fans in the house (aka Esther) are thrilled/enraged/bemused at the news that the long-awaited movie adaptation of the musical Wicked will now be spread over two movies. Call that the Lord of the Rings effect.

Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories

  • Gazprom—the state-owned Russian energy company—informed officials in Poland and Bulgaria on Tuesday it will halt gas supplies to their countries beginning today, making them the first two European countries to be cut off from Russian gas since the invasion of Ukraine in February. To lessen the blow of sanctions, Russian President Vladimir Putin had insisted countries importing Russian gas pay for it in rubles—a demand leaders in Warsaw and Sofia rebuffed. Only Hungary has thus far agreed to those terms, meaning additional embargos could be implemented shortly.

  • In a shift from its previous hesitance to supply heavy weaponry, Germany’s government reportedly authorized on Tuesday the transfer of 50 Gepard anti-aircraft tanks to Ukraine. “We will continue like this,” Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said yesterday at a U.S. Air Force base in Germany. “Step by step, whatever Ukraine needs, we will consider with our allies what is possible.”

  • In an interview with state TV on Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused NATO of engaging in a “proxy war” with Russia by arming Ukraine, warning that the threat of nuclear conflict “should not be underestimated.” His comments came hours after Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Russia was thus far “failing” to achieve its war aims. 

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