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French election round 2 – Slovakian PM in Ukraine — EU’s Russian energy habit

We analyze the latest from the French presidential campaign and hear Slovakian Prime Minister Eduard Heger’s first-hand account of his visit to Ukraine. We also delve into the problems Europe faces in weaning itself off Russian energy.

POLITICO’s Andrew Gray, Matthew Karnitschnig and Maïa de La Baume unpack the strategies of Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen as the gloves come off in round two of the French election. We also discuss Ukraine’s rebuff of German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier amid more German angst over arms deliveries. And we ask what Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer thought he could achieve by visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Our reporter Lili Bayer talks to Slovakian PM Heger about his visit to Ukraine with top EU officials, including European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. He describes his meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and a harrowing visit to the town of Bucha, the scene of atrocities against Ukrainian civilians widely condemned as Russian war crimes.

We also hear from Henning Gloystein, energy director at political risk consultancy Eurasia Group. He sets out the obstacles facing the EU as it tries to move away from Russian oil and gas — and warns of the risks of energy rationing in the winter if the bloc doesn’t play its cards right.

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