Russia shut off gas supplies to Finland on Saturday, deepening a conflict with the West over energy costs, and strengthened an offensive in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.

After ending weeks of resistance by the last Ukrainian fighters in the crucial southeastern city of Mariupol, Russia appears to be launching a major offensive in Luhansk, one of two provinces in Donbas.

Russian-backed separatists controlled huge areas of land in Luhansk and the neighbouring Donetsk province before the February 24 attack, but Moscow now intends to take the last remaining Ukrainian-held territory in Donbas.

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