Russia threatens to stop European energy exports; Ukraine reports progress in the east

  • Putin accuses Ukraine and West of violating grain deal
  • US says Russia ‘leak’ is a war crime
  • If Europe limits Russian gas prices, Moscow will suspend exports: Putin
  • White House says Europe will be ready

Kyiv, Sept 8 (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has threatened to stop all energy shipments to Europe if Brussels goes ahead with a proposal to limit the price of Russian gas and has suggested curtailing a UN-brokered deal for Ukrainian grain exports through the Black Sea. .

In a combative speech at an economic forum in Russia’s Far East region, Putin said Wednesday that Russia would not lose its war in Ukraine, which he says is being waged to ensure Russian security and protect Russian-speakers there.

Ukraine remained cautious about its counteroffensive in the east, but its top general warned that Russia could resort to nuclear weapons and that other nations could be drawn into a protracted “World War III.”

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy reported “good news” from the Kharkiv region, east of Kyiv, saying some settlements had been recaptured from Russian forces.

In an evening video address, Zelenskiy cited “the extremely successful strikes in areas where the occupiers are concentrated” and said that Ukrainian artillery had carried out successful strikes against Russian forces in the south.

The Pentagon said Ukrainian forces were making “slow but significant progress” on the battlefield and were doing better in the south than Russia. Ukraine’s military command for the southern district said its forces killed 108 Russian soldiers and destroyed 37 pieces of military equipment on Wednesday amid Russian airstrikes and shelling.

Reuters was unable to verify reports from the battlefield.

Asked about what Russia calls its “special military operation” at the Vladivostok forum, Putin said: “We have not lost anything and we will not lose anything.”

UKRAINE AND RUSSIA SPAR FOR GRAIN DEAL

The grain pact, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey, created a protected corridor after Ukraine lost access to its main export route when Russia attacked by land, air and sea.

Designed to help lower world food prices by boosting supplies, the deal was the only diplomatic breakthrough between Moscow and Kyiv in more than six months of war.

Putin said the deal was delivering grain, fertilizer and other food to the European Union and Turkey instead of poor countries, which he said was its original goal.

“It may be worth considering how to limit the export of grains and other foods along this route,” he said, adding that Russia would continue to abide by its terms.

The pact will be renewed at the end of November.

Ukraine said it was strictly adhering to the agreement and there was no reason for renegotiation.

“Today in Russia, another blatantly false statement was made that somehow most of the Ukrainian grain is exported to European countries,” Zelenskiy said in his speech.

The Istanbul-based coordination group overseeing the deal says 30% of the cargo has gone to low- and lower-middle-income countries. British UN Ambassador Barbara Woodward said Putin’s claim was incorrect and that Africa has received more than 50% of Ukraine’s wheat exports under the UN deal.

US SAYS RUSSIAN ‘LEAK’ IS A WAR CRIME

Meanwhile, the United States has accused Moscow of war crimes by illegally detaining, interrogating and deporting up to 1.6 million Ukrainians, including 1,800 children.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the UN Security Council that Russian officials are overseeing so-called leak operations that “are aimed at identifying people Russia considers insufficiently compatible or compatible with your control.

The envoy said that the practice was a preparation for the annexation of territory. read more

UN political affairs chief Rosemary DiCarlo said the council verified that Ukrainian civilians were subjected to screening and demanded access to all detainees. She said a fact-finding mission to Olenivka, where 53 Ukrainians were reportedly killed in a prison complex in July, would begin in the coming days.

Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, said that Ukrainians traveling to Russia “go through a registration procedure rather than screening.”

RUSSIAN ENERGY THREAT

The European Commission said it would propose a cap on the price of Russian gas to deprive Moscow of revenue and keep energy costs down as Europe fears difficulties this winter. In response, Putin threatened to stop all supplies if he took that step.

“We won’t supply gas, oil, coal, heating oil, we won’t supply anything” if that happens, he said. Europe typically imports around 40% of its gas and 30% of its oil from Russia.

Amid rising tensions, Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian military, said there was a real threat Russia would use nuclear weapons.

“It is also impossible to completely rule out the possibility of the direct involvement of the world’s leading countries in a ‘limited’ nuclear conflict, in which the prospect of a Third World War is already directly visible,” he wrote in an article. read more

Moscow has in the past denied speculation about the potential use of nuclear or chemical weapons.

Ukraine also said it may have to shut down the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, Europe’s largest, to avert a disaster and urged nearby residents to evacuate. read more

Ukraine and Russia have accused each other of bombing the plant.

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Information from Reuters and Jeff Mason in Washington; Written by Cynthia Osterman; Edited by Grant McCool

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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