(CNN Spanish) — Just a day after the European Union announced plans to rationalize gas, Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom resumed shipments of gas through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany.
In addition, Ukrainian officials said Russian forces are trying “around the clock” to break through defensive lines in the eastern Donetsk region while targeting the “main objective” of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk.
See the main news of the Russian war in Ukraine this Thursday, July 21.
Russia resumes gas flow to Germany, but well below capacity
Russian state energy giant Gazprom has resumed shipments of gas via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany, according to data on the operator’s website.
“We are in the process of resuming gas transportation through the pipeline. It may take some time to reach the nominated transportation volume,” a spokesperson for Nord Stream 1 told CNN on Thursday.
Nord Stream 1 had been closed for 10 days of scheduled maintenance, and it was feared that Russia would not resume deliveries once the work was completed.
Thursday’s reading showed that 21,388,236 kWh/hr of gas was sent through the pipeline between 1 and 2 a.m. ET, well below the capacity of Nord Stream 1.
The head of Germany’s grid regulator, Klaus Mueller, said on Twitter on Wednesday that Gazprom had scheduled deliveries on Thursday of just 30% of the pipeline’s capacity.
Before the pipeline was shut down, Gazprom was only delivering 40% of its capacity following a dispute over the repair of a key gas turbine.
A bit of context: This Wednesday, the European Union announced plans to ration gas until next spring, fearing that Russia could drastically cut the flow of natural gas to the continent. The “Save Gas for a Safe Winter” plan sets a target for the 27 member states to reduce their gas demand by 15% between August and March next year.
The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said on Wednesday that a complete cut off of Russian gas was a “likely scenario”.
Donbas region ‘not yet lost’ to Russian forces, says senior US general
The Ukrainian region of Donbas “has not yet been lost” to Russian forces, said the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, during a press conference at the Pentagon following a virtual meeting of the Contact Group on Ukraine. .
“The bottom line is that the cost is very high, the gains are very low, there is a war of attrition going on in the Luhansk region, Donbas,” Milley said. “To answer your question about ‘is Donbas lost?’ No, it is not lost yet. The Ukrainians are making the Russians pay for every inch of territory they gain,” she said Wednesday.
The changes of territory between the Ukrainian and Russian forces in the Donbas region “are literally measured in hundreds of meters. Some days you can take a kilometer or two away from the Russians, but not much more than that,” Milley added.
Following Russia’s 90-day campaign to focus on conquering the Donbas region, Russian forces have gained “very, very little” ground, he told reporters. However, he pointed out that the war is very intense.
“It’s very intense, a lot of violence: tens of thousands of artillery rounds every 24 hours, a lot of casualties on both sides, a lot of destruction of towns, etc,” he said.
Belarusian President Warns Of Nuclear ‘Abyss’ If Ukraine War Does Not Come To An End
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Thursday called for an end to the war to avoid a “nuclear war abyss.”
“We have to stop, come to an agreement, put an end to this mess, to the operation and to the war in Ukraine,” Lukashenko said in an interview with the French news agency AFP.
“We must stop, we must not go further. Beyond lies the abyss of nuclear war,” Lukashenko added.
Lukashenko went on to say that the West is to blame for the war in Ukraine.
“You have created this war. This is not just a belief of mine, it is 100% based on facts, I can prove it. You have created and continue this war,” Lukashenko said during the interview.
“We have seen the cause of this war. The cause is that if Russia had not gotten ahead of you, NATO, you would have organized and struck against it,” he added.
Lukashenko also urged the Kyiv authorities to come to the negotiating table with Russia.
Russia’s goals in Ukraine now extend beyond eastern Donbas, says Russian Foreign Minister
Russia’s targets in Ukraine now extend beyond the eastern Donbas region to the south of the country, a senior government minister has said.
As the war in Ukraine approaches its fifth month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told state media that the “geography is different”.
“It is far from just the DPR (Donetsk People’s Republic) and the LPR (Lugansk People’s Republic), it is also the Kherson region, the Zaporizhia region and a number of other territories, and this process continues, continues somehow way”. constant and persistent,” Lavrov said during an interview with RIA Novosti, published on Wednesday.
Lavrov’s statements are a sign of the Kremlin’s new approach to the war in Ukraine.
Just three months ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin moved his military efforts to the east of the country after failing to take Kyiv.
When Russian forces carried out Putin’s order and captured the last town in the Luhansk region still in Ukrainian hands — Lysychansk — earlier this month, their next move was expected to be in the neighboring Donetsk region.
If Donetsk were to fall, Moscow would overrun the entire Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, which has been home to Russian-backed separatist factions since 2014.
However, recently supplied US$400 million Multiple Launch Missile Systems (MLRS) bolstered the Ukrainian military’s ability to attack Russian targets, a major factor that has caused new problems to Moscow.
Earlier this month, huge explosions occurred in several occupied areas in the Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhia and Kherson regions. Available evidence, from satellite images and Western analysts, indicates that the attacks have been highly effective.
Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to the Chief of Staff of the President of Ukraine, repeated this Wednesday on Ukrainian television the request for more HIMARS weapons.
“Direct Threat”: Lavrov said that as long as the West continues to supply Ukraine with more long-range weaponry, including the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), Russia’s geographic targets in Ukraine will move away from the current line.
“We cannot allow that in the part of Ukraine controlled by Zelensky or whoever replaces him there are weapons that pose a direct threat to our territory or that of the republics that declared their independence or those that want to independently determine their future,” Lavrov said. .
“The president was very clear, as you have quoted: denazification and demilitarization in the sense that there should be no threat to our security, no military threat from the territory of Ukraine, and this goal remains,” Lavrov said.
Putin is ‘healthy’ despite ‘rumours’, says senior US intelligence official
Russian President Vladimir Putin is “completely healthy” despite “many rumours” about his health, according to a senior US intelligence official.
“There are a lot of rumors about President Putin’s health, and as far as we can tell, he is completely healthy,” CIA director Bill Burns said when asked directly if Putin is unhealthy or unstable.
Burns acknowledged that his public remarks this Wednesday at the Security Forum in Aspen, Colorado, were not “a formal intelligence trial.”
Putin recently appeared in photos with an apparent facial swelling that has led to speculation that he may be undergoing medical treatment for an unknown illness.
The Kremlin previously denied rumors of ailments.
“I do not believe that any person in his right mind could see in this person signs of any kind of illness or disease. I leave it to the conscience of those who spread such rumors despite daily opportunities to make sure who is seen in this world,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told French network TF1 in May.
Some background: when Russia invaded Ukraine in February, US politicians and former diplomats openly speculated on Putin’s stability.
From using a huge table during talks with French President Emmanuel Macron after the latter rejected a Russian covid-19 test, to delivering a speech riddled with conspiracy theories to justify invading Ukraine, some of Putin’s behavior has bordered on strangeness.
According to a CNN report published in March, US officials are also “on guard that Putin’s strategy is to project instability, in an attempt to push the US and its allies to give him what he wants out of fear that I can do worse.”
Asked in March if there have been any noticeable changes in Putin’s behavior, psychiatrist Dr. Kenneth Dekleva told CNN: “Yes and no.”
Dekleva, who previously worked at the US Embassy in Moscow and specializes in political psychological profiling/leadership analysis for national security purposes, said Putin’s behavior is a sign of frustration with the pace of Russia’s invasion. .
“I don’t think he’s erratic or has changed, but he’s certainly in more of a hurry,” Dekleva said.
“The saddest thing here, the most tragic thing is that Putin has gone from being a respected world leader when he came to power to … now he looks more and more like Russia’s Slobodan Milosevic,” Dekleva added, comparing Putin to the autocrat Serb who died in The Hague in 2006 while awaiting trial for war crimes.