No More Gas for EU
Russia says that it will begin cutting gas supplies to Europe as of Wednesday. This is a significant blow to countries that- over the last few years – have increased their reliance on gas energy from foreign nations. However, President Biden’s promise to send more LNG to Europe has apparently exceeded expectations. Reuters reports that “The United States is on track to blow past Biden’s March commitment of an additional 15 billion cubic meters of LNG for Europe this year, according to a Reuters analysis of export data compiled by Refinitiv, and to triple the pledge.”
After Odessa Missile Strikes, Wheat Prices Rocket
Missile attacks on the port city of Odessa have caused a major spike in wheat prices. Just before the weekend, an agreement had been reached that would allow wheat exports to continue from three southern ports, but this recent attack suggests the deal will not be honored. Reuters reports, “Wheat futures on the Chicago Board of Trade rose nearly 4% to $7.86 a bushel on Monday, regaining much of the ground lost on Friday as prices fell nearly 6% after the pact was announced.”
Russia Yet to Eliminate Any Advanced Rocket Systems From the West
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley said that Russia has yet to take out any of the rocket artillery donated to Ukraine by the West. “To date the HIMARS that we have provided them – and we’re not the only country, by the way, other countries are providing long range fires as well, Britain, for example, and some others are donating long range rocket artillery – to date those systems have not been eliminated by the Russians,” he said after the fourth meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contract Group on Wednesday, a platform including 50 countries from around the world.
These Western donated weapons are “already affecting the course of the war,” according to Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov. He also said that the group was presented with an overview of the situation on the battlefield, which, he claimed, showed Russia had suffered significant losses. “These are impressive numbers which prove Ukraine is indeed the shield of Europe,” Reznikov explained.
Russian Missiles Strike Mykolaiv Overnight
Seven missiles struck critical infrastructure in the southern city of Mykolaiv overnight, according to the city’s mayor. “Today at 3 a.m. (local time) it was chaotic shelling of the city,” Mayor Oleksandr Sienkevych said. “I cannot think of any explanation for this shelling, as none of the military objects or warehouses were hit. Critical infrastructure and objects in the vicinity to the civilians were hit. Luckily, there are no casualties.”
Putin: Ukraine Failed to Make Good on Preliminary Peace Deal
“Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday said Moscow did not see any desire from Ukraine to fulfil the terms of what he described as a preliminary peace deal agreed to in March,” Reuters reports. “Putin, speaking to reporters in televised comments after a visit to Iran, said Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were offering to mediate between Russia and Ukraine, which Moscow’s forces invaded in late February. There was no immediate response from the Ukrainian government to Putin’s remarks in the early hours of Wednesday,” the wire service relates.
He Said It: “Putin, asked about a possible meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said Kyiv had not stuck to the terms of a preliminary peace deal he said had been ‘practically achieved’ in March, without elaborating. ‘The final result of course… depends on the willingness of the contracting parties to implement the agreements that were reached. Today we see the powers in Kyiv have no such desire.’”
Russian Shelling Strikes Cities Across Ukraine
“Russian forces kept up their bombardment of cities across Ukraine, with intense shelling of Sumy in the north, cluster bombs targeting Mykolaiv and a missile strike in Odesa in the south, authorities said on Tuesday,” Reuters reports. “After failing to capture the capital Kyiv at the outset of the invasion on Feb 24, Russia has shifted to a campaign of devastating bombardments to cement and extend its control of Ukraine’s south and east,” the wire service writes.
Cruise Missile Attacks: “Ukraine says Russian forces have intensified long-distance strikes on targets far from the front, killing large numbers of civilians. Moscow says it is hitting military targets. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says Russia had fired more than 3,000 cruise missiles and uncountable artillery shells during the five-month conflict.”
Russia Ramping Up For Next Major Offensive in Ukraine
“Russia is preparing for the next stage of its offensive in Ukraine, a Ukrainian military official said, after Moscow said its forces would step up military operations in ‘all operational areas,’” Reuters reports. “As Western deliveries of long-range arms begin to help Ukraine on the battlefield, Russian rockets and missiles have pounded cities in strikes that Kyiv says have killed dozens in recent days,” the wire service writes.
‘Clearly Preparations Are Now Underway’: “‘It is not only missile strikes from the air and sea,’ Vadym Skibitskyi, a spokesman for Ukrainian military intelligence, said late on Saturday. ‘We can see shelling along the entire line of contact, along the entire front line. There is an active use of tactical aviation and attack helicopters. Clearly preparations are now underway for the next stage of the offensive.’ The Ukrainian military said Russia appeared to be regrouping units for an offensive toward Sloviansk, a symbolically important city held by Ukraine in the eastern region of Donetsk.”
Russian Missiles Kill at Least 20 in Vinnytsia
civilian buildings and a cultural center in the central Ukraine city of Vinnytsia were bombed by Russia, killing at least 20 people and wounding up to 50 more. The city is far from the front lines, and the mid-morning missile strike caught many out in the street. Seven missiles reportedly fired from the Black Sea landed in the city, and another four were shot down.
War Crimes Conference Begins in The Hague
Officials from the International Criminal Court and the European Union are meeting with Ukraine’s top prosecutor, Iryna Venediktova, in The Hague to discuss investigating war crimes committed during the Russian invasion. Prosecutor General Venediktova claims to have identified more than 600 war crime suspects and says that around 80 are currently being prosecuted, while Russia continues to deny any troops have been involved in war crimes. In fact, Russia still refuses to call the conflict a war or an invasion, opting instead for “special military operation” in Ukraine. The ICC, however, seems to be siding with Ukraine in this issue. “The national justice system in Ukraine has already taken important steps of investigation and trial, which we are monitoring,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said in an opening statement. “Given the breadth of the challenges it is facing it is crucial that the international community continues to support increased capacity for Ukraine’s investigations into alleged war crimes committed on its territory, whatever the circumstances.”
Ukraine Expecting New Attacks
Russian shelling in recent days is responsible for an estimated 30 deaths in Ukraine, but the government expects things to get worse. Reuters reports that “Ukraine’s general staff said the shelling across the country amounted to preparations for an intensification of hostilities as Russia seeks to seize Donetsk province, and control the whole of Ukraine’s Donbas industrial heartland.”
Zelensky Warns Russia: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky issued a stark warning to those engaged in war. He said: “You know, Nazi murderers are found and brought to justice even when they are 90 or 100 years old. They are caught all over the world. Of course, we don’t want to wait that long. But I give this example to show that punishment is inevitable for every Russian murderer.”