Ukraine news – live: Russia ramps up energy war with gas pipeline shutdown

Ukraine news – live: Russia ramps up energy war with gas pipeline shutdown

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in Please refresh your browser to be logged in Russia‘s state-controlled Gazprom unveiled a major escalation in its energy war with Western Europe on Friday by announcing the Nord Stream 1 pipeline will remain closed indefinitely, a move which threatens the prospect of blackouts and economic turmoil across the continent. The announcement was immediately condemned in capitals across the continent, but despite the anger, Gazprom’s decision will only serve to increase fears that Europe, which has long relied on Russian energy, is facing a long, harsh winter on rationing and potentially crippling price rises. The underwater 1,200km (745 miles) gas link, which runs from under the Baltic Sea near St Petersburg to north-eastern Germany, was due to reopen on Saturday after maintenance work for several days. Gazprom said on social media that the leak was discovered in a vital turbine and had identified “malfunctions”. It did not give a timeframe to re-open. Friday’s announcement by the Russian gas giant came just hours after G7 finance ministers agreed a global price cap on Russian oil and petroleum products. Volodymyr Zelenskiy has called for all troops to be removed from the critical nuclear power plant site in Enerhodar as a group of UN nuclear agency officials visited the Zaporizhzhia plant on Thursday. He said that the nuclear power plant will only return to completely safe functioning after the Russian military is finally made to leave the territory, “when they take away their weapons, ammunition, when they stop shelling Enerhodar and neighbouring areas and cease their provocations”. Mr Zelensky added: “And the key thing that should happen is the demilitarisation of the territory of the plant. This is exactly the goal of Ukrainian and international efforts. And it is bad that we have not yet heard the appropriate calls from the IAEA.” Stating that the IAEA has not helped Ukraine by calling for demilitarisation, the Ukrainian president said: “Although we talked about it with Mr Grossi [IAEA chief] at our meeting in Kyiv. This was the key – the key! – security point of our agreements. It was clearly stated: demilitarisation and full control by Ukrainian nuclear specialists.” On the Russian side, foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said that Moscow was doing everything to ensure that the plant could operate safely, and for the IAEA inspectors to be able to complete their tasks. At least three people have been killed and five wounded in Ukrainian shelling of Enerhodar, Russia-installed Zaporizhzhia oblast governor Yevgeny Balitsky said. A residential building was also struck by shelling in Russia-controlled Enerhodar on the Dnipro river and witnesses reported soldiers running about with helicopters flying overhead. The casualties from the shelling were not immediately clear. Officials in Ukraine reported heavy shelling late yesterday and said around a dozen southern towns had come under Russian attack, including regions like Kharkiv in the north and Donetsk in the east. Officials from the UN’s atomic watchdog visiting the Russia-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant said that the physical integrity of Europe’s critical infrastructure has been harmed. “It is obvious that the plant and the physical integrity of the plant has been violated, several times … this is something that cannot continue to happen,” director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency Dr Rafael Grossi said. The IAEA team reached the power plant site after getting delayed by several hours due to heavy shelling in the region. The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, captured by Russia within days of invasion,  has been witnessing heavy firing from both sides — Ukraine and Russia — for months now. “This morning the situation was pretty difficult but … having come this far, I was not going to stop,” Dr Grossi, who himself came uncomfortably close to the gunfire, said. “There were moments where fire was obvious, heavy machine gun, artillery mortars, at two or three times (it was) really very concerning I would say for all of us,” he said. Ukrainian officials have confirmed shelling by Russian forces in northeastern Ukraine’s Kharkiv city this morning. The shelling was reported from Kholodnohirskyi district around 6am by Kharkiv’s mayor Ihor Terekhov. At least four cars have been damaged but no casualties have been reported so far, as per the initial information. Over 100 Russian soldiers have been killed in the last 24 hours, officials from the Ukrainian military said on Friday morning. A total of 102 Russian troops have been killed, while six tanks, one Msta-B howitzer, one Grad multiple rocket launcher, a mobile 120-mm mortar, eight armoured vehicles, and five ammunition depots were destroyed on 1 September, Ukraine’s operational command south said. Ukrainian forces also struck a drone control post and a ferry crossing in the south, the army officials added. Heavy fighting continues in southern Ukraine, including shelling in Enerhodar district, near the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the British defence ministry said today. It added that the Kremlin has gone ahead with military exercise Vostok 22 — an annual joint strategic exercise affair — marking the culmination of the military training year even as its war in Ukraine plays out. “Russia publicly claimed that 50,000 troops will take part, however, it’s unlikely that more than 15,000 personnel will be actively involved this year. This is around 20% of the forces which participated in the last Vostok exercise in 2018,” the British MoD said today. It added that Russia’s military performance in Ukraine has highlighted that its “military strategic exercises, such as Vostok, have failed to sustain the military’s ability to conduct large scale, complex operations.” Such events are heavily scripted, do not encourage initiative, and primarily aim to impress Russian leaders and international audiences, the ministry claimed. Norwegian energy firm Equinor said on Friday it had completed its exit from Russia in the wake of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, delivering on a promise made in February, reports Reuters. This marks the first full, orderly exit from Russia by an international oil and gas firm as pressure mounts on others, such as TotalEnergies and Exxon Mobil, to also leave. Equinor on February 28 said it would start the process of divesting from joint ventures in Russia, describing its position as “untenable” due to the outbreak of war the previous week. Since then, Equinor had one asset left to divest from, a stake in the Arctic Kharyaga oilfield, operated by Russia’s Zarubezhneft and in which TotalEnergies is a partner. “Equinor can now confirm that the full exit from Kharyaga has also been completed,” Equinor said in a statement. “Following the exit from Kharyaga, Equinor has no remaining assets or projects in Russia.” A cargo vessel carrying more than 3,000 tonnes (3,307 tons) of corn from Ukraine was towed to anchorage in Istanbul on Friday after it briefly ran aground, a shipping agency said, the first such incident under a United Nations-brokered export deal. Turkish state broadcaster TRT Haber said traffic in the Bosphorus strait had been reopened after it was halted due to the grounding of the 173-meter (567.59 ft) Lady Zehma due to a rudder failure around 1800 GMT. The Tribeca shipping agency said the towage and salvage operation of Lady Zehma started at 2110 GMT and it dropped anchor at the southern Bosphorus anchorage area at 2330 GMT. No one was hurt in the incident, the Istanbul governor’s office said. During the grounding, the ship’s bow had been about 150 meters from shore in the busy Bebek neighbourhood, according to a witness and Refinitiv Eikon data. The shipping data showed the vessel was at anchor in the Marmara Sea, just off the coast of Istanbul, on Friday morning. Ukraine‘s grain exports slumped after Russia invaded the country on February 24 and blockaded its Black Sea ports, driving up global food prices and prompting fears of shortages in Africa and the Middle East, Reuters reports. Three ports were unblocked under the deal signed on July 22 by Moscow and Kyiv, and brokered by the U.N. and Ankara. Group of Seven finance ministers are expected to firm up plans on Friday to impose a price cap on Russian oil aimed at slashing revenues for Moscow’s war in Ukraine but keeping crude flowing to avoid price spikes, G7 officials said. The ministers from the club of wealthy industrial democracies are due to meet virtually and are seen as likely to issue a communique that lays out their implementation plans. “A deal is likely,” a European G7 official said, adding that it was unclear how much detail would be revealed, such as the per-barrel level of the price cap, above which complying countries would refuse insurance and finance to Russian crude and oil product cargoes. British chancellor Nadhim Zahawi said on Thursday in Washington that he was hopeful that G7 finance ministers will “have a statement that will mean that we can move forward at pace to deliver this.” “We want to get this oil price cap over the line,” he told a think tank event in Washington a day after discussing the cap with U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Despite Russia’s falling oil export volumes, its oil export revenue in June increased by $700 million from May due to prices pushed higher by its war in Ukraine, the International Energy Agency said last month. The G7 consists of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States. Some officials in the bloc have said that the cap needs broader backing and have questioned whether it can be successful without the participation of major oil consumers China and India, which are unlikely to endorse the plan. But other G7 officials have said that China and India have expressed interest in buying Russian oil at an even lower price in line with the cap. By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply. By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice. Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies Want to bookmark your favourite articles and stories to read or reference later? 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