Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin warns Europe of further falling gas supplies from Russia. If the turbine for the Nord Stream 1 pipeline repaired in Canada does not arrive in Russia soon, the daily delivery volume will fall even more, he said at a meeting in Tehran on Wednesday night, according to the Russian state news agency TASS. As Russia’s army wages war in Ukraine, Putin, on his second trip abroad since the invasion began, posed as an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and called for the inviolability of Syria’s borders.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is reorganizing his security apparatus and unveiling a new commission to monitor the use of Western weapons. Zelenskyj’s wife Olena campaigned in Washington for further military aid.
On the fringes of his visit to Iran, Putin drew attention to himself by remarking that gas supplies via Nord Stream 1 could fall further at the end of July. If Russia doesn’t get back the turbine repaired in Canada, the pipeline’s daily throughput capacity threatens to drop significantly, he said, according to Tass. “We still have a ready route – that’s Nord Stream 2. We can put it into operation,” Putin offered at the same time.
The Nord Stream 1 pipeline – the most important gas pipeline from Russia to Germany – was put into operation in 2011 and has a capacity of around 55 billion cubic meters per year. Since June, however, Russia’s state energy giant Gazprom has reduced gas deliveries to Germany by more than half the daily maximum to 67 million cubic meters. This was justified with the missing turbine from Siemens Energy. The pipeline, which is more than 1,200 kilometers long, is currently completely shut down for annual maintenance work – until Thursday as planned. Putin justified the possible renewed throttling with another unit that was in need of repair.
At the same time, Putin presented himself as the patron saint of Syria’s ruler Assad and expressed strong criticism of the West. This aims to “dismember” the Syrian state, he said at a tripartite summit with the heads of state of Iran and Turkey in Iran. Moscow, Ankara and Tehran should therefore work together to ensure the inviolability of Syria’s borders and ensure that the breakaway areas come back under the rule of the “lawful government”, Putin demanded.
He accused Ukraine of not being interested in a peace solution. At the negotiations in Istanbul at the end of March, both sides “actually reached an agreement, it just had to be signed,” said Putin. Since then, however, Kyiv has refused to implement the solution that was reached. During the March negotiations, both sides reached rapprochement on the issue of Ukraine’s non-aligned status. However, Russia is also insisting that Ukraine recognize Crimea, which Moscow has annexed since 2014, as Russian and cede the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
President Zelenskyy has announced the creation of a new parliamentary commission in Ukraine to monitor the use of western weapons. There are no allegations of improper use of weapons from the West, Zelenskyj emphasized in his video speech on Tuesday. “But in order to eliminate all manipulations by Russian propagandists and those who help them in Ukraine or elsewhere, such an additional parliamentary control tool will be established.”
After the recent dismissals of the head of the secret service and other executives in the security organs, Zelenskyj wants to push ahead with the realignment of these agencies. He appointed new heads of the SBU secret service in five regions and reported on the dismissal of another SBU deputy head. Most recently, there had been criticism of possible secret betrayal in the authorities and ongoing corruption.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian first lady, Olena Selenska, was received at the White House by the US First Lady, Jill Biden. US President Joe Biden also received Selenska and presented her with a bouquet of flowers. Selenska wants to advertise further military aid for Ukraine on her trip to the US. The country continues to rely on Western weapons to stop the Russian invasion.
At the front, meanwhile, fighting in Ukraine continues uninterrupted. Fighting is taking place in the south and east of the country. Neither of the two parties to the conflict was able to achieve strategically important advances. However, according to Ukrainian information, the Russian armed forces made further gains in the fighting for the Donbass in eastern Ukraine.
“The enemy launched an attack in the Pokrovske area, was partially successful and is establishing itself on the southern outskirts of the village,” the Ukrainian general staff said in its situation report on Tuesday evening. Pokrovske is a settlement ten kilometers east of the important transport junction of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region. The Siwersk-Soledar-Bakhmut line is considered to be Ukraine’s next line of defense in front of the conurbation around the cities of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk.
This will be important on Wednesday: The EU Commission is expected to present its emergency plan in the event that Russia no longer supplies gas through the Baltic Sea pipeline even after the repair work on Nord Stream 1 was originally expected to end on Thursday. The fear of a Russian delivery stop had recently grown in the buyer countries.