To overcome the fall in Russian gas deliveries, Brussels has proposed a plan to reduce European demand by 15% with a limitation of the heating of certain buildings, the postponement of the closure of nuclear power plants and companies encouraged to reduce their needs. But Spain has already indicated its opposition.
On the military level, the head of Russian diplomacy, Sergei Lavrov, affirmed that the objectives of Russia were no longer limited only to eastern Ukraine, but also concerned
other territories and could still expand.
Part of the assault on February 24, Russia said it wanted to focus on the Donbass basin, a mining region partly controlled by pro-Russian separatists since 2014, after notably failing to take kyiv, the Ukrainian capital.
It is no longer just the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk [deux territoires séparatistes de l’est de l’Ukraine, NDLR]these are also the regions of Kherson and Zaporizhia [dans le sud, NDLR] and a series of other territories, and this process continues, steadilyLavrov told the Ria-Novosti news agency and the TV channel RT .
Mr. Lavrov also said that holding talks with Kyiv would not
no sense in the current situationconsidering that previous contacts had
only revealed the unwillingness of the Ukrainian side to seriously discuss anything.
Ukraine responded to the Russian announcement by calling for more weapons and additional sanctions against Moscow.
The Russians want blood, not negotiations. I call on all partners to strengthen sanctions against Russia and speed up arms deliveries to Ukrainewrote the head of Ukrainian diplomacy Dmytro Kouleba.
The first lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, visiting the United States, for her part delivered a stirring plea before the American Congress:
I ask you for more weapons […] to protect everyone’s homes and the right to wake up alive in those homesshe launched.
Russian gains on the ground
The Russian army has made gains in recent weeks in the Donbass, including breaking the double lock of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk, two cities in the Lugansk region, which cleared the way for it to try to advance towards the cities. from Kramatorsk and Sloviansk, further west in the Donetsk region.
Heavy fighting continues to unfold in this part of Ukraine, with kyiv able to count on recent deliveries of more capable Western artillery pieces.
Mr. Lavrov also warned that if the West continued to supply Ukraine with weapons capable of striking at long range, such as the American HIMARS multiple rocket launchers, Russia’s geographical objectives would still evolve.
In the south, new bombardments left at least two dead and nine injured in the city of Nikopol, deplored its mayor, Oleksandre Saïouk.
In Kharkiv, in the northeast, shelling killed at least three people, local authorities said. Among the victims, a 13-year-old boy killed near a bus stop, whose body AFP journalists saw and relatives in shock, kneeling near him, amid broken glass.
In the immediate future, Europe is suspended from Moscow’s decision whether or not to reopen the valves of the Nord Stream gas pipeline, which mainly supplies Germany and has only delivered 40% of its capacity since mid-June.
Russian President Vladimir Putin hinted that the pipeline could restart Thursday morning, but that if Russia did not receive a missing turbine, it would only operate at 20% capacity.
An excuseimmediately reacted Germany.
The German operator Gascade assured to foresee a recovery as of Thursday at the level of
before maintenance, i.e. 40% of capacity. At the start of the evening, the president of the German Network Agency, Klaus Müller, estimated that the delivery could finally only be Thursday from%”,”text”:”about 30%”}}”>about 30 % capacity of Nord Stream 1.
Measures that are not unanimous
In Brussels, the European Commission is preparing people’s minds for gas shortages which could slow down economic activity and lead to difficulties in heating during the winter.
Russia covered 40% of Europe’s gas supply until last year.
But the European plan is not unanimous. The Spanish government said it was opposed to the reduction in gas consumption by at least 15% desired by Brussels for all the Member States of the European Union, judging that this measure was not necessarily
Madrid also regretted that this measure was not discussed beforehand. This plan must be discussed on July 26 during a European Council.
Supplementing the six sets of sanctions adopted since the beginning of the war, the European Union has also approved an embargo on gold exports from Russia. It will also freeze the assets of the Russian bank Sberbank and add several personalities and entities to its blacklist.
But for President Volodymyr Zelensky,
it’s not sufficient.
Russia must pay a higher price for the war that would force it to seek peacehe pointed out in a video.
Mercosur refuses to listen to Zelensky
On the diplomatic level, the Ukrainian head of state suffered a setback with the refusal of the South American economic bloc of Mercosur, made up of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, to authorize him to deliver a speech at his heads of state summit on Thursday.
All decisions of the economic bloc are taken unanimously. The name of the state or states that had opposed the intervention of the Ukrainian president was not revealed.
In the aftermath of the outbreak of war, Brazil and Argentina refrained from supporting a statement by the Organization of American States (OAS) condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Since the beginning of the Russian offensive, President Zelensky has multiplied virtual interventions during summits, before Parliaments or during media events.