(AFP – Russian energy giant Gazprom cut off gas supply to Latvia Saturday due to tensions between Moscow, the West and Ukraine’s conflict and broad European and U.S. sanction against Russia.
The declaration came a day after Moscow and Kyiv accused each other of bombing a jail holding Ukrainian prisoners of war in Russian-held territory, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky saying more than 50 were killed and calling the attack a war crime.
“Today Gazprom has suspended gas supply to Latvia… because of violations of conditions of purchase, according to Telegram.
Gazprom drastically cut gas deliveries to Europe via the Nord Stream pipeline on Wednesday to about 20 percent of its capacity.
The Russian state-run company had earlier announced it would choke supply to 33 million cubic metres a day — half the amount it has been delivering since service resumed last week after 10 days of maintenance work.
EU countries have charged Russia with eroding supplies as a retaliation to Western sanctions on Moscow’s involvement in Ukraine.
Gazprom stated that one of two turbines in the pipeline was unable to operate due to “technical conditions of the engine”.
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesperson for
Kremlin has blamed EU sanctions on the shortage.
” Technical pumping capacity is down and more limited. Why? “The sanctions imposed by Europe make it extremely hard to maintain technical devices,” Peskov explained.
“Gazprom has been and continues to be a reliable guarantor for its obligations. However, it cannot guarantee the pumping gas if imported devices are not maintained by European sanctions.” he stated.
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— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 28, 2022
The European Union has agreed to a plan for reducing gas consumption to stand in solidarity with Germany. This is where the Nord Stream pipeline runs. It also warned of Russian “blackmail”.
Russian’s defense ministry accused Ukraine Friday of attacking a Russian prison with long-range US missiles in a “egregious provocation” to prevent captured soldiers surrendering.
It stated that the deceased included Ukrainian forces, who surrendered to Russia after weeks of resisting Russia’s bombardment of Azovstal steelworks located in Mariupol.
Zelensky slammed Russia.
” This was a deliberate Russian War Crime, a deliberate Mass Murder of Ukrainian Prisoners of War,” Zelensky stated in his weekly address to the nation on Friday. “Over 50 are dead.”
Zelensky stated that an agreement was reached for Azovstal fighters for them to surrender their arms. This agreement, which was brokered by the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross and included safety guarantees and called upon those organisations to act as guarantors.
Zelensky also called on the international community to declare Russia a state-sponsor of terror.
” A decision is necessary, and needed immediately,” he stated.
In a clear sign Washington continues to support Kyiv’s cause, U.S. Secretary Antony Blinken met with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Friday. He urged Moscow not to annexe any Ukrainian territories occupied by Russian forces.
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” It was important for the Russians to hear from us directly that this will not be acceptable — and it will not only not be accepted but it will also result in additional significant cost being imposed on Russia if it continues,” Blinken said to reporters in Washington.
Zelensky visited a southern Ukrainian port to inspect a vessel being loaded with grain. This was part of a UN-backed plan that aims to export millions of tonnes from Ukraine, which has been blocked by Russia’s navy.
Ukraine released video of Zelensky inspecting grain loadings at Chornomorsk port. According to the Ukrainian presidency, exports may begin in “coming days”.
A separate development was that S&P Global Ratings cut Ukraine’s long term debt rating by three points on Friday. They said that a newly announced plan to delay payments meant that a default would be “a virtual certainty.”
A group of Western nations gave last week their approval to Kyiv’s request to delay interest payments for its debt. They also called upon other creditors to follow suit.
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