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Russian gas cut to Europe hits economic hopes, Ukraine reports attacks on coastal regions

Russia announced that it would cut gas supplies to Europe starting 27 July. This is a blow to countries that have backed Ukraine. Meanwhile, missile attacks in Black Sea coast regions raised questions about Russia’s willingness to allow Ukraine to export grain.

According to the United Nations, the first ships from Ukraine could set sail in days, according to a deal reached Friday (22 July). This is despite the fact that a Russian missile strike on Odesa, Ukraine, occurred over the weekend. A spokesperson for the military administration said that another missile had struck Odesa on Tuesday morning.

Rising energy costs and the threat of hunger facing millions of people in poorer countries show that the largest conflict in Europe since World War Two is now in its sixth month.

The European Union’s countries approved a weaker emergency proposal on Tuesday (26 July) to reduce their gas consumption. This is in an effort to wean off Russian energy and prepare to go to war with Russia.

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On Tuesday, the Ukrainian military reported that Russian cruise missiles were being fired in the south of the country and that Ukrainian forces had struck enemy targets. Serhiy Bratchuk from Odesa’s military administration stated that a missile from the Black Sea had hit the region. However, no details were given about the casualties.

According to Oleksandr Senkevich, an attack on the port infrastructure at Mykolaiv, east of Odesa, along the Black Sea coast was sustained.

Russia’s defence ministry didn’t immediately respond to an after-hours inquiry.

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After Ukrainian troops bombarded the area, a major fire broke out at the Budyonnovsky oil depot of the Russian-backed Donetsk People’s Republic, eastern Ukraine. There have been no reports of injuries or casualties.

Gazprom Russian energy giant Gazprom (GAZP.MM). cited industry watchdog instructions on Monday that gas flow to Germany via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline would drop to 33 million cubic meters per day starting Wednesday.

This is almost half the current flow, which is already 40% below normal capacity. Before the war, Europe imported around 40% of its gas from Russia and 30% of its oil.

According to the Kremlin, the gas disruption was caused by maintenance issues and Western sanctions. The European Union accuses Russia of energy fraud.

Europe’s politicians have stated repeatedly that Russia could cut gas this winter. This would put Germany in recession and harm consumers already suffering from soaring inflation.

Moscow claims it is not interested to see gas supplies to Europe completely stopped.

In addition to the concerns about energy, the Ukrainian state-owned pipeline operator company stated that Russian gas giant Gazprom (GAZP.MM.) has raised the pressure in a pipeline running through Ukraine to deliver Russian natural gas to Europe.

These pressure spikes can lead to emergency situations, including pipeline ruptures. Pipeline operators must inform each other in advance, according to the Ukrainian company. Gazprom could be reached immediately for comment.

Before the invasion and subsequent sanctions Russia and Ukraine accounted almost for a third global wheat exports.

Officials from Russia and Ukraine, as well as the United Nations, agreed Friday that there would not be any attacks on merchant vessels moving through the Black Sea to Turkey’s Bosphorus Strait, and on to the markets.

Moscow dismissed concerns that the deal might be cancelled by a Russian attack against Odesa on Saturday. It claimed it only targeted military infrastructure.

According to the White House, Russia’s credibility was in doubt and they were closely monitoring developments to determine if any commitments would be made.

It stated that it will continue to explore additional options with the international community in order to increase Ukraine’s exports via overland routes.

Since Moscow’s February 24th invasion, Russia’s Black Sea fleet has prevented Ukraine from exporting grain. Moscow blames the West for slowing down its food and fertiliser exports, and Ukraine for mining its approaches to its ports.

Pilots will direct ships through safe channels in the naval minefields under Friday’s agreement.

Officials from the Ukrainian government stated that they hoped to receive the first shipment of grain from Chornomorsk by this week. They also expect shipments from other ports to follow within two weeks.

Zelenskiy insisted that trade would resume. He said: “We will begin exporting, and let our partners take care of security.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that there are no restrictions on the export of grain, and that nothing in the agreement prevents Moscow from attacking military infrastructure.

For the grain deal to be successful, the Kremlin said that the United Nations must lift restrictions on Russian fertiliser exports and other exports.

According to the Kremlin, it is involved in a “special military operations” to “demilitarize and denazify” Ukraine. Both Kyiv, as well as Western nations, claim that the war is unprovoked.

During the conflict, thousands of civilians died and many fled to safety. Russian air strikes and artillery barrages have decimated cities.

Putin’s forces are slowing progress despite Western weapons helping the Ukrainians. However, they are likely to be ready for a new push in east.

Ukraine claimed Monday that its forces used U.S.-supplied HIMARS rockets systems to destroy 50 Russian ammunition depots.

Russia didn’t comment, but its Defence Ministry stated that its forces had destroyed a ammunition depot for HIMARS system.

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