Russia restored gas shipments to Europe through its largest pipeline, but Germany claimed it was insufficient to rule out future shortages, while Russian soldiers were believed to be on the verge of taking Ukraine’s second largest power plant.

According to Ukrainian sources, Russian soldiers blasted cities in the east and south and targeted two schools as part of limited ground operations in preparation for a larger invasion. Russia claimed to have destroyed military targets.

The restoration of gas flows via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany concluded a tense 10 days in Europe, during which politicians voiced worry that Russia would not resume them at a time when alternative energy sources are few and prices are high.

However, flows were only restored at 40% of their previous capacity levels, prompting Germany’s economics minister, Robert Habeck, to accuse Russia of blackmailing Europe over energy. 

The Kremlin rejected this and blamed Europe for the outage, which it said was caused by EU sanctions that made pipeline maintenance more difficult. 

Nord Stream 1 has typically transported more than one-third of Russia’s gas shipments to Europe, and although its resumption allayed fears that Russia might not resume them at quiet, supplies were insufficient for Germany to meet its storage needs.

“In view of the missing 60% (capacity) and the political instability, there is no reason yet to give the all-clear,” said Klaus Mueller, president of Germany’s network regulator. Other European nations, including France, Austria, and the Czech Republic, will be impacted as well, according to the regulator.

Habeck expressed concern that the pipeline’s capacity would continue to decline, and that Germany will tighten its gas storage objectives, implement gas-saving measures, and draw on its coal reserves in October to maintain even supply.

The European Commission has suggested that member nations reduce their gas use by 15% in order to prepare for anticipated supply shortages, however several governments are opposing this idea. 

Moscow has frequently criticized EU and US sanctions on Russia for its February 24 invasion of Ukraine, as well as Western weaponry assistance to Kyiv, claiming that it was forced to conduct a “special military operation” to prevent NATO from exploiting Ukraine to threaten Russia.

Ukraine claims it needs the weaponry to protect itself against what it and the West see as an unjustified imperial-style attack meant to grab its territory and obliterate its national character.

Britain’s defence minister, Ben Wallace, said the country will deploy hundreds of artillery pieces and over 1,600 anti-tank weaponry to Ukraine after departing British Prime Minister Boris Johnson offered another billion pounds ($1.2 billion) in military help. 

Source: Reuters

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