Russia continues to cut gas supplies to Europe

Russia will further cut gas supplies to Europe in a bid to deal a blow to countries that have been supporting Kyiv, just as there were hopes Ukraine’s blocked grain exports would resume this week.

Despite an airstrike over the weekend, the first ships could set sail from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports in a matter of days under an agreement agreed on Friday, the United Nations said. This would help ease an international food crisis, although suspicions and potential dangers remained.

Soaring energy costs and famines in parts of the world show how Europe’s biggest conflict since World War II – now in its sixth month and with no solution in sight – is having an impact far from Ukraine.

On the front lines, Ukraine’s military reported widespread Russian artillery fire in the east overnight and said Moscow’s forces are preparing for a fresh attack on Bakhmut, a town in the Donbass industrial region.

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the West earlier this month that sanctions risk triggering huge global energy price hikes.

Yesterday, Russian energy giant Gazprom, citing instructions from an industry regulator, said gas flows to Germany through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline would drop to 33 million cubic meters per day from tomorrow.

That’s half the current, which is already at 40% of normal capacity. Before the war, Europe imported about 40 percent of its gas and 30 percent of its oil from Russia.

The Kremlin says the gas disruption is the result of maintenance problems and Western sanctions, while the European Union has accused Russia of resorting to energy blackmail.

Germany said it sees no technical reason for the latest reduction.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned that the Kremlin was waging an “open gas war” against Europe.

Politicians in Europe have repeatedly said Russia could shut off gas this winter, a move that would plunge Germany into recession and result in soaring prices for consumers already facing painfully high energy bills.

Moscow says it is not interested in a complete halt to gas supplies to Europe.

Rising energy prices and global wheat shortages are among the most far-reaching effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which is leaving millions in poorer countries at risk of starvation.

Officials from Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Nations agreed on Friday there will be no attacks on merchant ships sailing through the Black Sea to Turkey’s Bosphorus Strait and on to markets.

We will continue to actively explore other options with the international community to increase Ukrainian exports

Moscow brushed aside concerns that the deal on Saturday could be shattered by a Russian missile attack on Ukraine’s port of Odessa, saying it only targeted military infrastructure.

The White House said the strike cast doubt on Russia’s credibility and was closely monitoring whether commitments were being met.

“We will continue to actively explore other options with the international community to increase Ukrainian exports via land routes, as well as options to help Ukrainian farmers to temporarily store food,” it said.

Meanwhile, the American-supplied Himars missile launchers have destroyed more than 50 Russian ammunition depots since arriving on the battlefield last month, Ukraine’s defense minister said.

Oleksiy Reznikov told Ukrainian television that the “scalpel”-like accuracy of Russia’s highly mobile artillery-missile systems has significantly undermined supply chains and its ability to “wage active combat and cover our forces with heavy shelling.”

“We’re talking about 50 locations in terms of ammunition dumps alone,” he said. “Our gunners use Himars very precisely – like a surgeon with a scalpel. And you can even see that in the photos of some bridge crossings where [the shells] are placed very precisely in the area of ​​the seams of the bridge connections.”

He did not give specific details, but in the last few days Ukraine has built three bridges over the Dnieper in Russian-occupied Cherson. The strikes appear designed to isolate Russian units on the right bank of the Dnieper.

Elsewhere, Russia’s top diplomat said Moscow’s overriding goal in Ukraine was to rid its people of their “unacceptable regime,” and expressed the Kremlin’s war aims in some of the most blunt terms while its forces pounded the country with artillery fire and airstrikes hit.


Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Photo: Press Service of the Russian Foreign Ministry

Apparently hinting that Moscow’s war aims go beyond Ukraine’s industrial Donbass region, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said: “We will certainly help the Ukrainian people to get rid of the regime, which is absolutely anti-popular and anti-historical.” (© Telegraph Media Group Ltd. 2022)

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2022] Russia continues to cut gas supplies to Europe

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