Russia suspends gas supplies after deadly prison strike

Russian energy giant Gazprom Saturday suspended gas supplies to Latvia, a day after a jail holding Ukrainian prisoners of war was bombed leaving scores dead.

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

The Russian state-run company had earlier announced it would choke supply to 33 million cubic metres a day — half the amount it has been delivering since service resumed last week after 10 days of maintenance work.

Gazprom cited the halted operation of one of the last two operating turbines for the pipeline due to the “technical condition of the engine”.

The European Union this week agreed a plan to reduce gas consumption in solidarity with Germany, where the Nord Stream pipeline runs to, warning of Russian “blackmail”.

“Latvia was not counting on natural gas flows from Russia,” Economy Minister Ilze Indriksone told LETA.

Russian strikes continued to rain down on Ukrainian towns and cities on Saturday, 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, adding: “All political, legal and moral responsibility for this bloody massacre of Ukrainians lies with (Ukrainian President Volodymyr) Zelensky personally, his criminal regime and Washington which backs them.”

“This was a deliberate Russian war crime, a deliberate mass murder of Ukrainian prisoners of war,” he said. “Over 50 are dead.”

Zelensky also urged the international community, especially the United States, to have Russia officially declared as 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 resistance 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 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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