May 11, 2022: According to a report by Reuters, flows of Russian gas to Europe through a key transit point in Ukraine dried up on Wednesday, while Kyiv claimed battlefield gains over invading Russian forces, including the recapture of four villages around the second city of Kharkiv.
Ukraine has remained a major route for Russian gas to Europe even after President Vladimir Putin ordered what he called a “special military operation” on Feb. 24.
Mounting Western sanctions are seeking to ban or phase out the use of Russian energy, a major source of funds for Putin’s war effort and a vulnerability for Europe, especially Germany.
Blaming the interference of Russian occupying forces for the suspension, Ukraine’s gas operator said on Tuesday it would redirect gas from the Sokhranivka transit point, which is in an area occupied by Russian forces, to another in a Ukraine-controlled area.
Early Wednesday data from the network operator showed zero nominations for Russian gas through the transit point.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukrainian successes were gradually pushing Russian forces out of Kharkiv, which has been under bombardment since the war began.
In the south, Ukrainian armed forces said they struck nine enemy targets, with enemy losses of 79 servicemen and 12 pieces of equipment, including armoured vehicles and howitzers.
Russian fire was concentrated on the Mykolaiv region where private homes were damaged as well as farms and power lines to one town.
Russian forces continued to pummel the Azovstal steelworks in the southern port of Mariupol with artillery, tanks and aircraft bombing, Ukraine’s general staff said, trying to capture the last bastion of Ukrainian resistance in the ruined city.
Russia was trying to reinforce exposed troops on Zmiinyi Island, also known as Snake Island, which became famous for the foul-mouthed defiance of Ukrainian border guards early in the invasion.
“If Russia consolidates its position on Zmiinyi Island with strategic air defence and coastal defence cruise missiles, they could dominate the northwestern Black Sea,” the British Ministry of Defence said in a regular bulletin.
Russia’s resupply vessels have minimum protection in the western Black Sea, following the Russian navy’s retreat to Crimea after the loss of the flagship Moskva, it said.
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