As Ukraine asks the Red Cross and the UN to assist its captured soldiers, Russia cuts off gas to Latvia

As Ukraine stated it had requested access to its soldiers being held by Russian forces, Russian energy giant Gazprom on Saturday cut off gas supplies to Latvia.

The phone call came a day after a bombing in Olenivka, a region under the control of the Kremlin, that killed numerous people while detaining Ukrainian POWs.

Dmytro Lubinetsk, a representative of Ukraine’s human rights organization, announced on national television that he had requested that the Red Cross and the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission visit Olenivka.

He claimed that although the Russians have been asked, the ICRC has not yet received their approval.

The UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross mediated the arrangement for the Azovstal fighters to surrender, according to President Volodymyr Zelensky, and also contained safety guarantees.

He requested that the two organizations act as guarantors.

Conexus Baltic Grid, meanwhile, alerted of the cessation of deliveries by Gazprom, verified to Latvia’s LETA news agency that other suppliers were continuing them.

According to breaches of the terms of the contract, “Gazprom halted its gas shipments to Latvia today…,” the firm wrote on Telegram.

Ilze Indriksone, Latvia’s economy minister, told LETA that his country had not anticipated natural gas imports from Russia.

On Wednesday, Gazprom sharply reduced gas deliveries to Europe through the Nord Stream pipeline to around 20% of its capacity. In June, it repeatedly cut gas deliveries to Europe.

The state-run Russian corporation had previously declared it will reduce supply to 33 million cubic meters per day, or half of what it has been supplying since service was restored last week after a 10-day maintenance period.

In response for Western sanctions over Moscow’s role in Ukraine, European Union member states have accused Russia of restricting supplies.

One of the pipeline’s final two working turbines has been shut down, according to Gazprom, because of the “technical state of the engine.”

The reduced supply has been attributed to EU sanctions by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

This week, the European Union approved a plan to cut back on gas use in solidarity with Germany, where the Nord Stream pipeline ends, and issued a warning against Russian “blackmail”.

“Exorbitant provocation”
On Saturday, Russian airstrikes on Ukrainian cities and villages persisted.

They were released a day after Russia’s defense ministry accused Kiev of using long-range missiles provided by the US to attack a prison in Russian-controlled territory in a “egregious provocation” meant to prevent imprisoned soldiers from turning themselves in.

They included Ukrainian military who had given up after weeks of resistance to Russia’s merciless bombing of the expansive Azovstal steelworks in the coastal city of Mariupol, it was reported on Saturday.

According to the defense ministry, 73 Ukrainian detainees were treated at hospitals for critical injuries, and 50 of them were murdered.

It stated that Zelensky personally, his criminal regime, and Washington, which supports them, bear full political, legal, and moral culpability for the brutal killing of Ukrainians.

Zelensky assigned sole responsibility to Russia.

He declared, “This was a planned Russian war crime, the wholesale slaughter of Ukrainian POWs. ‘More than 50 are dead.

Zelensky also pleaded with the international community, particularly the US, to formally label Russia as a “state supporter of terrorism.”

Some of the people who gave themselves up at Azovstal were members of the Azov regiment.

Mykyta Nadtochiy, the commander of the Azov regiment, claimed that the assault on the jail in Olenivka, which was under Kremlin authority, constituted “an act of public execution.”

According to Ukrainian authorities, one person was killed in southern Mykolaiv and one in eastern Bakhmut as a result of Russian bombings that targeted the country’s south and east.

After two guys passed away in hospitals, the dead toll from a strike on a Mykolaiv bus stop on Friday rose to seven, he added.

Three Russian S-300 missiles targeted a school in Kharkiv, a city in eastern Ukraine, the mayor Igor Terekhov stated on Telegram, adding that the main structure was demolished.

A Ukrainian spokesman said that grain fields near Mariupol had been set on fire by his nation’s military.

“The Mariupol resistance forces set fire to the fields with grain so that it would not be stolen by the occupiers,” Sergiy Bratchuk, a spokesman for the Odessa regional military administration said.

“The fire can probably spread to the Russian military base… There are Russian fortifications, ammunition warehouses and minefields disposed сlose to the area of the fire.”

Grain exports to restart

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 said exports could start in the “coming days”.

Separately, S&P Global Ratings downgraded Ukraine’s long-term debt rating by three notches on Friday, claiming that a new move to postpone payments makes a default “almost inevitable.”

Last week, a group of Western nations approved Kyiv’s request to put off making interest payments on its debt and urged other creditors to follow suit.


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