EU members with the exception of Hungary agree on a plan to cut gas consumption

15 percent and reduce their dependence on Russian supplies, a day after Russian energy giant Gazprom announced plans to further limit flows to Europe.

Gazprom says it will cut daily gas deliveries through the Nord Stream pipeline to 33 million cubic metres a day, about 20 percent of its capacity, continuing the progressive constriction of supplies begun after the West imposed sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The move, for which Gazprom has cited technical problems, has been slammed by the EU and Ukraine as an attempt by Moscow to blackmail Europe.

To show solidarity with Germany, the main beneficiary of the gas, EU members voted to voluntarily reduce their gas use by 15 percent starting next month, with some exceptions for islands and countries with limited access to shared supplies.

New strikes on south Ukraine

Russian forces launch new missile strikes at targets near Odessa, days after an attack on the strategic port city that jeopardised a hard-won deal on unblocking Ukrainian grain shipments.

Ukraine’s southern military command says Russian forces launched a “massive” strike from the Black Sea that hit residential buildings near Odessa.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky publishes a video showing heavy damage to a popular resort village. A local official says one person was injured.

Officials in the port of Mykolaiv, another grain-exporting hub, also report attacks on infrastructure in that city.

The strikes come as Ukraine steps up preparations to resume shipping grain around the world under a deal brokered by the United Nations and Turkey with Russia, which has blockaded Ukraine’s Black Sea ports.

Russia to quit ISS ‘after 2024’

Russia has decided to quit the International Space Station “after 2024”, the newly appointed chief of Moscow’s space agency tells President Vladimir Putin.

“Of course, we will fulfil all our obligations to our partners, but the decision to leave this station after 2024 has been made,” Roscosmos chief Yury Borisov tells Putin in comments released by the Kremlin.

“I think that by this time we will start putting together a Russian orbital station,” Borisov adds, calling it the space programme’s main “priority”.

Russia and the United States have worked side by side on the ISS, which has been in orbit since 1998.

Kremlin defends closing Jewish agency

The Kremlin attempts to limit the diplomatic fallout of its decision to close down the Russian chapter of the agency that handles Jewish immigration to Israel.

A Moscow court said last week the justice ministry had requested the Jewish Agency be dissolved because of unspecified legal violations.

The move will not prevent Russian Jews from emigrating to Israel but will make it harder.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says the decision, seen by analysts as a warning to Israel’s Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who has been more critical of Russia than his predecessor, “should not be politicised or projected onto the entirety of Russian-Israeli relations”.

“There are issues from the point of view of complying with Russian law,” he says.

Lapid has called Russia’s decision a “serious event”.

More than one million of Israel’s 9.4 million residents have roots in the former Soviet Union.

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