Russia further closes the gas tap to the West and continues attacks in Ukraine


Russia has again reduced its gas supplies to the West, suspending shipments to Latvia on Saturday, and continuing its attacks in southern and eastern Ukraine, a day after a bombing of a prisoner of war prison occurred.

“Gazprom suspended the supply of gas to Latvia (…), due to the violation of the conditions” of gas purchase, the Russian company announced in a statement on Telegram.

The Russian gas giant this week reduced its supply to Europe through the Nord Stream gas pipeline, alleging maintenance work on a turbine.

Gazprom had already cut twice in June the volume of its deliveries, invoking the absence of a turbine that was being repaired in Canada and that was not returned due to the sanctions imposed against Russia for the invasion of Ukraine launched on February 24. .

Germany and Canada agreed to return the turbine to Russia, but it has not yet been shipped.

In the field of military operations, Russia attacked several towns in southern and eastern Ukraine, killing at least one person in Mikolaiv and destroying a school in Kharkiv, Ukrainian authorities announced on Saturday.

This comes a day after Moscow and kyiv exchanged accusations over a bombing of a prison in separatist territory in eastern Ukraine.

Russia accused Ukrainian forces of being responsible for the attack on the Olenivka prison in the Donbas region, where Ukrainian prisoners of war were held.

But Ukrainian President Volodomir Zelensky said it was a “deliberate Russian war crime” that left “more than 50 people dead.”

The Russian army spoke of 40 dead and 75 wounded, and pro-Russian separatist leaders of 53 dead.

– EU accuses Russian forces –

The Russian authorities said the Ukrainian forces used US projectiles from the “Himars” system and that members of the Azov battalion, which distinguished itself by defending Mariupol (southeast), were being held in the prison.

However, Ukraine denied targeting civilian infrastructure or prisoners of war.

The Ukrainian General Staff considers that Russia intends to “camouflage the torture of prisoners and the executions” that are “perpetrated” there.

According to Ukrainian intelligence, the attack “was carried out by mercenaries from the Wagner Division” and “was not coordinated with the leadership” of the Russian Defense Ministry.

Russian public television broadcast images presented as burnt barracks and destroyed metal beds. It also showed other blurs of what appear to be bodies.

AFP was unable to verify these claims with an independent source.

For its part, the European Union condemned “in the strongest terms the atrocities committed by the Russian armed forces and their auxiliaries”, in a statement from its chief of diplomacy that points both to the bombing of the prison and to the accusations of torture against a Ukrainian prisoner.

“These inhumane and barbaric acts constitute serious violations of the Geneva Conventions” and “constitute war crimes,” said Josep Borrell.

– School destroyed –

This Saturday, Ukrainian authorities reported Russian shelling in the south and east of the country, killing at least one person in Mikolaiv.

In Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, three S-300 missiles destroyed an educational center at dawn, according to Mayor Igor Terejov.

Terekhov posted photos of the burning school on his Telegram channel. So far, it is unknown if there are victims.

The governor of the Kharkov region, Oleg Sinegubov, specified that at least five S-300 missiles fell overnight in the city.

In the Donetsk region, at the epicenter of the Russian offensive in the east, the bus station and nearby buildings were hit by an attack in Sloviansk, regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said.

– Imminent export of cereals –

Meanwhile, grain at Ukrainian ports is still blocked, but exports could resume in the coming days for the first time since the war began on February 24.

Zelensky visited the Black Sea port of Chornomorsk on Friday to oversee a first grain shipment to a Turkish ship, under the terms of a July 22 deal with Russia.

kyiv is only waiting for a “signal” from Ankara and the UN, guarantors of the agreement, to “start” exports, stressed the Ukrainian head of state.

According to the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine, 17 ships have already been loaded with grain in Chornomorsk and Odessa, while ten are ready to go.

Ukraine, like Russia, is among the world’s largest grain exporters. kyiv says it wants to sell about 20 million tons for about $10 billion as part of this deal.

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