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Pipes at the landfall facilities of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline in Lubmin, Germany, March 8 2022. Picture: HANNIBAL HANSCHKE/REUTERS
Pipes at the landfall facilities of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline in Lubmin, Germany, March 8 2022. Picture: HANNIBAL HANSCHKE/REUTERS

EU countries bracing for further cuts in Russian gas supply approved a weakened emergency plan to curb demand after striking compromise deals to limit the reductions for some countries.

Brussels is urging member states to save gas and store it for winter for fear that Russia will completely cut off flows in retaliation for Western sanctions over its war with Ukraine.

“We [the EU] will not be divided because gas is scarce,” German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock said in Prague after talks with her Czech counterpart. “Instead we stand together, and that is the most important signal to the Russian president.”

ECONOMY, DIPLOMACY

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a late-night video address that Russia was deliberately cutting supplies of natural gas to impose a “price terror” against Europe, and he called for more sanctions on Moscow.

A deal agreed by EU states to curb their gas use should yield enough gas savings to last through an average winter, if Russia were to fully cut supplies in July, the bloc’s energy chief, Kadri Simson, said.

The Kremlin said a repaired gas turbine for Nord Stream 1, Russia’s biggest gas pipeline to Europe, had not yet arrived after maintenance in Canada, and that a second turbine was showing defects.

Russian gas giant Gazprom has sharply increased pressure in the Urengoy-Pomary-Uzhgorod pipeline that delivers Russian gas to Europe without prior notice, the Ukrainian state pipeline operator company said. Such pressure spikes could lead to emergencies including pipeline ruptures, according to the Ukrainian company.

The first ships to export grain from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports may move within a few days under a deal agreed by Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the UN last week, a UN spokesperson said.

Ukraine aims to strike a deal for a $15bn-$20bn programme with the International Monetary Fund before year-end to help shore up its war-torn economy, Ukrainian central bank governor Kyrylo Shevchenko told Reuters.

The Kremlin said it believes former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder is in Moscow, and did not rule out possible contact with him.

The EU decided to renew sanctions against Russia for a further six months, until the end of January 2023.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said he saw no reason to criticise Russia over the invasion of Ukraine, extolling Russian-African friendship in remarks that likely delighted his visitor, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov.

FIGHTING

Russia’s armed forces destroyed eight Ukrainian missile and artillery arms depots in the southern Mykolaiv region and in the eastern Donetsk region, the defence ministry said in its daily briefing.

Britain said there was no indication that a Ukrainian warship and a stock of anti-ship missiles were at the dockside in Odesa port on Sunday, after Russia earlier said it had destroyed those targets with high-precision missiles.

The Kremlin said Saturday’s Russian missile strikes in Odesa were on military targets and would not affect grain exports.

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