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World Russia suspends gas supplies to Latvia

11:52  30 july  2022
11:52  30 july  2022 Source:   afp.com

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 War in Ukraine: Russian Gazprom must reopen Thursday the North Stream I pipeline after maintenance of ten days. If this is not the case, Europe must prepare for difficult months, explains Philippe Chalmin. © supplied by Franceinfo "If Russia closes the tap" gas "Europe" will be very bad in the fall ", warns Philippe Chalmin, specialist in energy issues, on Franceinfo on Wednesday July 20. "We will know in a few days," said the specialist.

Russian energy giant Gazprom Saturday suspended gas supplies to Latvia following tensions between Moscow and the West over the conflict in Ukraine and sweeping European and US sanctions against Russia.

Moscow and Kyiv accused each other of bombing a jail holding Ukrainian prisoners of war © BULENT KILIC Moscow and Kyiv accused each other of bombing a jail holding Ukrainian prisoners of war Ukrainian soldiers carry the coffin of Vasyl Sushchuk, an Azov regiment serviceman killed during fighting with Russian troops © Yuriy Dyachyshyn Ukrainian soldiers carry the coffin of Vasyl Sushchuk, an Azov regiment serviceman killed during fighting with Russian troops

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.

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Zelensky calls for UN, Red Cross to react on killing of Ukrainian POWs © Provided by AFP Zelensky calls for UN, Red Cross to react on killing of Ukrainian POWs

"Today, Gazprom suspended its gas supplies to Latvia... due to violations of the conditions" of purchase, the company said on 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 states have accused Russia of squeezing supplies in retaliation for Western sanctions over Moscow's intervention in Ukraine.

Gazprom cited the halted operation of one of the last two operating turbines for the pipeline due to the "technical condition of the engine".

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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has blamed EU sanctions for the limited supply.

"Technical pumping capacities are down, more restricted. Why? Because the process of maintaining technical devices is made extremely difficult by the sanctions adopted by Europe," Peskov said.

Major ports in the Black Sea and Ukraine © Emmanuelle MICHEL Major ports in the Black Sea and Ukraine

"Gazprom was and remains a reliable guarantor of its obligations... but it can't guarantee the pumping of gas if the imported devices cannot be maintained because of European sanctions," he said.

- Russian 'blackmail' -

The European Union this week agreed a plan to reduce gas consumption in solidarity with Germany, where the Nord Stream pipeline runs to, warning of Russian "blackmail".

Russia's defence ministry on Friday accused Ukraine of striking a prison in Russian-held territory with US-supplied long-range missiles, in an "egregious provocation" designed to stop captured soldiers from surrendering.

Russia’s Gazprom to tighten squeeze on gas flow to Europe

  Russia’s Gazprom to tighten squeeze on gas flow to Europe Energy giant says flow through Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany will drop to just 20 percent capacity as of Wednesday.Gazprom said on Monday that flows would fall to 33 million cubic metres per day – half the current, already reduced level – from 04:00 GMT on Wednesday because it needed to halt the operation of a Siemens Energy gas turbine on instructions from an industry watchdog.

It said the dead included Ukrainian forces who had surrendered after weeks of fighting off Russia's brutal bombardment of the sprawling Azovstal steelworks in the port city of Mariupol.

Zelensky laid the blame squarely on Russia.

"This was a deliberate Russian war crime, a deliberate mass murder of Ukrainian prisoners of war," Zelensky said in his daily address to the nation late Friday. "Over 50 are dead."

Zelensky said an agreement for the Azovstal fighters to lay down their arms, brokered by the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross, included guarantees for their health and safety and called on those two organisations to intervene, as guarantors.

Zelensky also urged the international community, especially the United States, to have Russia officially declared as a state sponsor of terrorism.

"A decision is needed, needed right now," he said.

In a sign of Washington's continued support of Kyiv, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov for the first time since the beginning of the conflict Friday, urging Moscow against annexing any more Ukrainian territory occupied by Russian forces.

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- US warning -

"It was very important that the Russians hear directly from us that that will not be accepted -- and not only will it not be accepted, it will result in additional significant costs being imposed upon Russia if it follows through," Blinken told reporters in Washington.

Zelensky on Friday visited a port in southern Ukraine to oversee a ship being loaded with grain for export under a UN-backed plan aimed at getting millions of tonnes of Ukrainian grain stranded by Russia's naval blockade to world markets.

Ukraine's presidency released footage of Zelensky standing in front of Turkish ship Polarnet in the port of Chornomorsk on a visit to inspect grain being loaded. Ukraine's presidency said exports could start in the "coming days".

In a separate development, S&P Global Ratings on Friday cut Ukraine's long-term debt grade by three notches, saying a recently announced plan to defer payments means a default is "a virtual certainty".

A group of Western countries last week gave their green light to Kyiv's request to postpone interest payments on its debt and called on other creditors to do so as well.

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Russia’s Gazprom cuts off gas supplies to Latvia .
Senior Latvian official says move has little effect as Baltic country decided to ban Russian gas imports from January.Russia has already cut off gas supplies to Poland, Bulgaria, Finland, Netherlands and Denmark, which refused to pay for gas in line with an order by President Vladimir Putin requiring rouble accounts to be set up in a Russian bank.

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