Kyiv urges UN, Red Cross to help Russia-held forces as gas flows cut

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Russian energy giant Gazprom on Saturday suspended gas supplies to Latvia, as Ukraine announced it had asked the Red Cross and UN to gain access to its soldiers being held by Russian forces.

The call came a day after a jail holding Ukrainian prisoners of war in Kremlin-controlled Olenivka was bombed leaving scores dead.

The ICRC has made a request but has not yet obtained authorisation from the Russians, he said.

He called on the two organisations to intervene as guarantors.

“Today, Gazprom suspended its gas supplies to Latvia… due to violations of the conditions” of purchase, the company said on Telegram.

Gazprom drastically cut gas deliveries to Europe via the Nord Stream pipeline on Wednesday to about 20 percent of its capacity. It had reduced gas flows to Europe twice in June.

European Union states have accused Russia of squeezing supplies in retaliation for Western sanctions over Moscow’s intervention in Ukraine.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has blamed EU sanctions for the limited supply.

– ‘Egregious provocation’ –

They came a day after Russia’s defence ministry accused Kyiv of striking a prison in Russian-held territory with US-supplied long-range missiles, in an “egregious provocation” designed to stop captured soldiers from surrendering. 

The defence ministry said 50 Ukrainian prisoners were killed and 73 were taken to hospital with serious injuries.

Zelensky laid the blame squarely on Russia.

Zelensky also urged the international community, especially the United States, to have Russia officially declared a “state sponsor of terrorism”.

Azov regiment commander Mykyta Nadtochiy said he considered the attack on the jail in Kremlin-controlled Olenivka to have been “an act of public execution”.

The death toll from a strike on a Mykolaiv bus stop on Friday climbed to seven after two men died in hospital, he added.

A Ukrainian spokesman said his country’s forces had set fire to grain fields around Mariupol.

“The fire can probably spread to the Russian military base… There are Russian fortifications, ammunition warehouses and minefields disposed сlose to the area of the fire.” 

Zelensky on Friday visited a port in southern Ukraine to oversee a ship being loaded with grain for export under a UN-backed plan aimed at getting millions of tonnes of Ukrainian grain stranded by Russia’s naval blockade to world markets.

In a separate development, S&P Global Ratings on Friday cut Ukraine’s long-term debt grade by three notches, saying a recently announced plan to defer payments means a default is “a virtual certainty”.

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Originally published as Kyiv urges UN, Red Cross to help Russia-held forces as gas flows cut


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