Ukraine halts some Russian gas flows, claims battlefield gains

  • Ukraine redirects Russian gas to Europe
  • Ukrainian counter-offensive could change the momentum of the war
  • Ukrainian forces seek to cut Russian supply lines
  • The United States worries about the future course of the war

KHARKIV, Ukraine, May 11 (Reuters) – Russian gas flows to Europe through a key transit point in Ukraine dried up on Wednesday as kyiv claimed battlefield gains against invading Russian forces , including the recapture of four villages around the second city of Kharkiv.

Ukraine remained a major route for Russian gas to Europe even after President Vladimir Putin ordered what he called a “special military operation” on February 24.

Growing Western sanctions seek to ban or phase out the use of Russian energy, a major source of funding for Putin’s war effort and a vulnerability for Europe, particularly Germany.

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Blaming the interference of the Russian occupation forces in the suspension, the Ukrainian gas operator said on Tuesday that it would redirect gas from the transit point of Sokhranivka, which is in an area occupied by Russian forces, to another in an area controlled by Ukraine. Read more

On Wednesday morning, data from the network operator showed that there were no nominations for Russian gas through the transit point. Read more

Since Russia was forced to abandon an assault on the capital kyiv in late March, its main force has been trying to encircle Ukrainian troops in the eastern Donbass region, using the town of Izyum near Kharkiv in the north -is, as a basis.

Ukrainian troops have mostly withstood the onslaught from three directions, and senior US intelligence officials say the war is now at a stalemate.

Putin appears to be preparing for a long conflict, and a Russian victory in the Donbass region may not end the war, US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said in Washington on Tuesday. Read more

But the counterattack near Kharkiv could signal a new phase, with Ukraine going on the offensive and supply lines to Russia now potentially vulnerable.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Ukrainian successes were gradually pushing Russian forces out of Kharkiv, which had been bombarded since the start of the war.

“But I also want to urge all of our people … not to spread excessive emotions. We must not create an atmosphere of excessive moral pressure, where victories are expected every week and even every day,” Zelenskiy said in a video address. .

GATHERING OF BODIES

In the villages of Staryi Saltiv and Vilkhivka near Kharkiv, Ukrainian soldiers collected the bodies of Russian soldiers killed in the fighting, according to Reuters witnesses.

Russian forces were trying to prevent Ukrainian troops from moving further towards the border in the Kharkiv region and were trying to take full control of the town of Rubizhne, the Ukrainian General Staff said on Wednesday.

Ukrainian border guards reported that Russian forces were shelling the Sumy and Chernihiv regions near the border.

“Enemy planes twice launched unguided missiles at the border areas of Sumy. There were also two cases of mortar fire in the Chernihiv region,” they said on their Telegram channel.

In the south, the Ukrainian Armed Forces reported hitting nine enemy targets, with enemy casualties of 79 servicemen and 12 pieces of equipment, including armored vehicles and howitzers.

Russian fire focused on the Mykolaiv area where private homes were damaged along with farms and power lines to a town.

Russian forces continued to strike the Azovstal steel plant in the southern port of Mariupol with artillery, tanks and plane bombardment, the Ukrainian general staff said, trying to capture the last bastion of Ukrainian resistance in the ruined city.

Ukraine says tens of thousands of people have been killed in the city under two months of Russian siege.

Russia was trying to reinforce exposed troops on Zmiinyi Island, also known as Snake Island, which became famous for the rude disregard of Ukrainian border guards at the start of the invasion.

“If Russia consolidates its position on the island of Zmiinyi with strategic air defense and coastal defense cruise missiles, it could dominate the northwest Black Sea,” Britain’s Ministry of Defense said in a statement. regular newsletter.

Russian supply ships have minimal protection in the western Black Sea, after the Russian navy withdrew to Crimea following the loss of flagship Moskva, he said.

Reuters was unable to independently verify reports of fighting.

The number of Ukrainians who have fled their country is approaching 6 million, according to the United Nations, which says the refugee crisis is growing the fastest since World War II.

Russia denies targeting civilians and rejects Ukrainian and Western allegations of war crimes.

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Additional reporting Tom Balmforth in Kyiv; Written by Rami Ayyub and Lincoln Feast; Editing by Stephen Coates, Robert Birsel

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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