Russia’s Gazprom will cut its supplies further through the single largest gas link to Germany. This is destroying any hopes that a deal on grain supplies could reduce the economic impact of the Ukraine conflict.
While the European Union accuses Russia of energy blackmail, the Kremlin claims that the gas disruption is due to maintenance issues and Western sanctions.
Gazprom, citing industry watchdog instructions, said Monday that flows through Nord Stream 1 would drop to 33 million cubic meters per day starting at 0400 GMT Wednesday. This is half the flow rate of current flows, which currently only 40% of their normal capacity.
Germany stated that it did not see any technical reason to reduce the price.
Europe’s politicians have stated repeatedly that Russia could cut gas this winter. This would plunge Germany into recession and cause soaring energy prices for those already facing high prices.
This month, President Vladimir Putin warned that the West could face severe consequences if it continues to impose sanctions. Europe imports around 40% of its natural gas from Russia and 30% of its oil, about 30% from Russia.
Russia’s invasion in Ukraine has had the most devastating effects on Ukraine, with rising energy prices and a worldwide shortage of wheat. They could lead to hunger in millions of people living in poverty.
Ukraine stated Monday that it was hopeful that a U.N.-brokered agreement to reduce food insecurity by resuming grain imports from the Black Sea would be implemented this week.
The United Nations, Turkey, Ukraine, and Russia agreed Friday that there would not be any attacks on merchant vessels moving through the Black Sea to Turkey’s Bosphorus Strait. They also pledged to establish a monitoring center.
Moscow dismissed concerns that the deal might be canceled by a Russian missile attack on Ukraine’s port Odesa on Saturday. It claimed it only targeted military infrastructure. The attack was condemned by Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zeleskiy as “barbarism”, which shows Moscow is not to be trusted.
According to a senior official in Ukraine, the first shipment of grain from Ukraine, a major supplier worldwide, would be made from Chornomorsk next week. Other shipments will follow from the agreement within two weeks.
“We believe that in the next 24 hours we will be ready work to resume exports out of our ports,” deputy minister for infrastructure Yuriy Vaskov stated at a news conference.
The Ukrainian military reported that Russia had been shelling eastern Ukraine over the past six months, as the war entered its sixth month. According to the Ukrainian military, Moscow was preparing for an attack on Bakhmut in industrial Donbas. Russia is attempting to seize this region for separatist proxies.
Ukraine claimed that its forces used U.S.-supplied HIMARS rockets systems to destroy 50 Russian ammunition stores since it received the weapons last month. Russia didn’t immediately respond, but its Defence Ministry stated that its forces had destroyed a HIMARS ammunition depot.
Reuters was unable to independently verify statements made by Ukraine or Russia.
Since Moscow’s invasion on 24 February, Russia’s Black Sea fleet has prevented Ukraine from exporting grain since then.
UN officials called Friday’s agreement, which was the first diplomatic breakthrough in the conflict’s history, a “de-facto ceasefire” for all ships and facilities included in the agreement.
Moscow denies any responsibility for the crisis. It blames Western sanctions for slowing exports of food and fertilisers, and Ukraine for mining the ports’ approaches. Pilots will direct ships along safe routes under Friday’s agreement.
According to the Ukrainian military, two Kalibr missiles from Russian warships were fired Saturday at Odesa port. Two others were also hit. They didn’t strike the grain storage area nor cause any significant damage.
Russia claimed that the strikes had struck a Ukrainian warship as well as a weapons store in Odesa equipped with precision missiles.
Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesperson, stated that “this should not affect – and will not affect- the beginning of shipment.”
Sergei Lavrov of Russia, the Russian Foreign Minister, stated that there are no restrictions on the export of grain. He also said that nothing in the agreement prevented Moscow from attacking the military infrastructure of Ukraine.
Prior to the invasion and subsequent sanctions Russia and Ukraine accounted almost for one-third global wheat exports. Peskov stated that the United Nations must lift restrictions on Russian fertiliser exports and other exports in order for the grain deal be successful.
Putin describes the war as a “special military operations” that aims to demilitarize Ukraine and expel dangerous nationalists. This is a pretext for aggressive land grabs, Kyiv and West both call it.
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