Russia threatens to stop exporting energy to Europe;  Ukraine demands development in the east

Russia threatens to stop exporting energy to Europe; Ukraine demands development in the east


  • Ukrainian forces are pushing east of Kharkiv
  • The US says Russian ‘leaching’ is a war crime
  • If Europe lowers the price of Russian gas Moscow will stop exports -Putin
  • Putin says he will not lose the war

KYIV, Sept 8 (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened to halt all energy exports to Europe if Brussels went ahead with a proposal to lower Russian gas prices, in a belligerent speech declaring Russia would not lose the war in Ukraine.

The speech came as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy reported “good news” from the frontline near eastern Kharkiv, saying some settlements had been recaptured as both sides reported heavy fighting in the area. Read more

Ukrainian and pro-Russian officials said there was fighting near the town of Balakleiia about 60 kilometers (38 miles) southeast of Kharkiv, with unconfirmed reports of heavy losses for Russian forces.

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An explosion at a power plant near Odesa in the south, meanwhile, cut power to 360,000 people, a regional administration spokesman said.

Putin said in a speech on Wednesday at an economic forum in Russia’s Far East that Russia would not lose what he called its “special military operation” in Ukraine. Read more

He threatened to cut off all energy supplies to Europe if Brussels went ahead with its proposals for higher Russian gas prices, the latest move by the West to deprive the Kremlin of funds to finance the war. Read more

“We’re not going to give away gas, oil, coal, heating oil — we’re not going to give away anything” if that happens, he said. Europe normally imports about 40% of its gas and 30% of its oil from Russia.

The United States and France say Moscow is already using energy as a “weapon” to weaken European opposition to its invasion, with Russia’s main gas pipeline into Europe, Nord Stream 1, closed for maintenance.

Ukraine remained guarded about its offensive in the east of the country but presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych, in a video posted on YouTube, said Ukrainian troops surprised Russian defenders in Balakleiia.

“The Russians are saying that Balakleiia is surrounded when in fact (our troops) have gone further … they have cut the road to Kupiansk,” he said, referring to the main transport hub that supplies Russian forces in Izyum to. the east.

A pro-Russian official from the area, Rodion Miroshnik, said on Telegram that Balakleiia remained in Russian hands even though there was fighting in the north of the town.

Reuters could not confirm the battlefield accounts but Yuri Podolyak, a Ukrainian national frequently quoted by pro-Russian officials, also said Russian troops were surprised by Ukraine’s move.

“The enemy had a great success near Balakleiia with a small force … It seems that the Russian forces slept this way and were expecting somewhere else,” he wrote on Telegram.

“Everything will seem to depend now on the speed with which reserves are brought into the fight … there have been heavy losses.”

When asked about the progress of the war at the Vladivostok conference, Putin said: “We have not lost anything and we will not lose anything.”

Russian forces fired rockets and heavy artillery overnight into towns in several districts, killing seven civilians, wounding others and destroying more than a dozen houses and buildings, Ukrainian regional authorities said Thursday.

Zaporizhzhia regional governor Valentyn Reznichenko wrote on Telegram: “That night was full of alarms and gunshots.” He said at least 11 houses and other buildings had been destroyed, but there were no reports of casualties.

In Kharkiv region, five people were hospitalized and in Donetsk seven were killed, regional officials said.

Reuters could not immediately confirm the battlefield reports.

The United States accused Moscow of war crimes for illegally detaining, interrogating and deporting up to 1.6 million Ukrainian citizens, including 1,800 children.

The US Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, told the UN Security Council that Russian officials are conducting so-called filtering operations that “aim to identify individuals whom Russia deems to be inappropriate or subject to its control”.

The member said that the exercise is a preparation for seizing the area. Read more

The head of political affairs of the United Nations, Rosemary DiCarlo, said that the council has confirmed that the citizens of Ukraine were being filtered and asked all the people who were detained to reach them.

Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia said Ukrainian citizens traveling to Russia “go through a registration process instead of screening.”

GAS PRICE FORCE, GRAIN SHIP

EU energy ministers are expected to hold an emergency meeting on Friday to discuss Russia’s high gas prices.

“We will propose a price cap for Russian gas… We must reduce Russian revenues that Putin is using to finance this brutal war in Ukraine,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told reporters.

The Netherlands, which has consistently opposed gas price caps, would support one targeting Russian gas, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.

However, the Czech minister said the advance should be removed from the agenda of Friday’s meeting. The Czechs are helping to lead the debate as holders of the EU’s rotating presidency.

Putin on Wednesday said Russia and the developing world had been “deceived” by the UN-brokered Ukraine grain sales agreement and wanted to discuss reforming the agreement as Ukraine’s exports are not going to the world’s poorest countries as intended. Read more

Ukraine, however, says around 2.37 million tons of food have already left its Black Sea ports, including 1.04 million tons for Asian countries and 470,000 tons for African nations.

About 280,000 tons of agricultural products will be shipped in the near future from Ukrainian ports as part of an international program to fight hunger, Ukraine’s infrastructure ministry said late on Wednesday.

The United Nations, supported by Turkey, passed a historic July 22 agreement between Russia and Ukraine that resumed Kyiv’s Black Sea grain and fertilizer exports.

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Reporting by Reuters and Jeff Mason in Washington; Written by Cynthia Osterman and Stephen Coates; Edited by Michael Perry and Lincoln Feast.

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