NEWS DIGEST 03.09.2022: Nord Stream 1 halted, Kherson pushback & Pakistan floods

Welcome to September. This morning our news bulletin brings the top world stories making the headlines on Google News.

Russia’s state-controlled natural gas supplier, Gazprom, heralded a major escalation in Moscow’s energy war with Western Europe on Friday when it announced that the Nord Stream 1 pipeline would remain closed indefinitely, a move that increases the prospect of blackouts and economic turmoil across the continent. Russia is using energy as a tool to pressure Europe, the White House said when asked about Russia’s delayed return of its Nord Stream 1 natural gas pipeline. “It is unfortunately not surprising that Russia continues to use energy as a weapon against European consumers,” a National Security Council spokesperson told Reuters in an email about the shutdown of the pipeline that sends gas to Europe. Europe’s energy crisis loomed larger Friday after Russian energy giant Gazprom said it couldn’t resume the supply of natural gas through a major pipeline to Germany for now. The head of Germany’s network regulatory agency, Klaus Muller, tweeted that the Russian decision to keep Nord Stream 1 switched off for now increases the significance of new liquefied natural gas terminals that Germany plans to start running this winter, gas storage and a “significant need to save” gas – Ukraine news – live: Russia ramps up energy war with gas pipeline shutdown (Independent ~ News – World – Europe)

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Despite selling less oil since the war began, Russia made £600m more from oil sales in June than it did in the previous month because of rocketing prices pushed up by the war. British Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi said the price cap would also bring global price stability that would “protect our citizens from oil price shocks next year”. The “price cap” announced by G7 finance ministers today is an attempt to further choke Moscow’s fossil fuel revenue by targeting the service companies that provide the logistical and administrative architecture of the oil trade. The aim, according to Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi, is to cut Moscow’s oil revenues while also protecting low and middle-income countries still reliant on Russian imports, and to insulate British consumers from future price shocks. Even as Russian oil export volumes have fallen, higher global prices triggered by the war mean revenues are rising – Russia scraps plans to reopen major gas pipeline – deepening Europe’s difficulty in securing winter fuel (Sky News ~ World)

The Ukrainian counter-offensive launched this week to recapture the southern city was cheered by those who have suffered under Russian rule since Moscow’s forces took over in March. Kherson remains the only provincial Ukrainian capital captured intact by Russian forces since President Vladimir Putin ordered the full invasion of the country in February, and the only territory occupied by Russian forces that lies west of the Dnipro river. Backed by long-range rocket systems, Ukrainian forces have made a trident-shaped push towards the Russian troops based on the western side of the river in Kherson region. Ukrainian forces have for two months been firing artillery and missile strikes at Russian military bases and local infrastructure around Kherson. Moscow has said it plans to formally annex the area through a referendum, as it did after invading Crimea in 2014, and Kherson’s streets are plastered with posters declaring “Kherson is a Russian city” – Kherson counter-offensive cheered by Ukrainians enduring Russian rule (Financial Times ~ War in Ukraine)

Ukraine declared this week it had begun a counteroffensive aiming to retake Kherson – the one city Russia holds west of the Dnieper River – prompting a fog of uncertainty to descend on how the effort was progressing, never mind whether it would succeed. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the officials said Ukraine had “pushed back” the Russian defenders in “several places”, but insisted it was too soon to name villages taken or distances gained while fighting was ongoing. Four already damaged bridges are key to resupplying Kherson, and while Russia has set up pontoon alternatives, Ukraine says it can hit them. If Russia can hold on, the Kremlin will feel it is in a strong place to consolidate all the gains it has made across Ukraine through its enforced Russification and sham referendums. Moscow wants the west to feel supplying Ukraine with modern weapons is not working, and for Ukraine’s population to tire of the fighting – Push to retake Kherson is symbol of Ukraine’s cautious confidence (The Guardian UK edition ~ News – World – Europe – Ukraine – Analysis)

Most have lost their homes and have gathered on what little land is left here. They’ve been stuck for three weeks with no clean water and very little food. Lal Khatoon, who appears as the village matriarch – a forceful, passionate presence in a group of weary-looking people, tells me: “No one came here to help. “Thank goodness my children got here. But they now have fevers and stomach problems.” There are no signs of aid trucks here, no planes dropping supplies. More floodwater from the north is expected to make its way here in the days to come. Pakistan has emerged as a victim of a man-made disaster and global apathy – ‘No one came here to help’: Pakistan’s massive floods reveal the cost of global apathy (Sky News ~ World – Eyewitness)


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