Home World Vladimir Zelensky says that only “diplomacy” can end the war, as Russia...

Vladimir Zelensky says that only “diplomacy” can end the war, as Russia stops the flow of gas to Finland

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned on Saturday that only a diplomatic breakthrough, not a direct military victory, could end Russia’s war against his country as Moscow cut gas supplies to Finland.
After just over 12 weeks of fierce fighting, Ukrainian forces have stopped Russia’s attempts to seize Kyiv and the city of Kharkiv in the north, but in the east of Donbass are under new and strong pressure.

The Moscow army leveled and captured the southeastern port city of Mariupol and subjected Ukrainian troops and cities in the east to a relentless ground and artillery attack.


Mr. Zelensky’s Western allies have supplied his troops with modern weapons and imposed severe sanctions on the Russian economy and President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.

But the Kremlin in response cut off energy supplies to Europe and cut off gas supplies to Finland on Saturday, angering Moscow by applying to join NATO.

“It will be bloody”

Against this background, Zelensky told Ukrainian television that the war would end “diplomatically.”
The conflict, he warned, “will be bloody, there will be fighting, but it will only end in diplomacy.”

To circumvent financial sanctions and force European energy customers to support their central bank, Putin demanded that importers from “unfriendly countries” pay for gas in rubles.

Russian energy giant Gazprom has said it has cut off supplies to neighboring Finland because it has not received ruble payments from Finland’s state-owned energy company Gasum by the end of Friday.
In 2021, Gazprom supplied 1.49 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Finland, which is about two-thirds of the country’s gas, but only eight percent of total energy consumption.
Gassum said it would make up for the shortfall from other sources, through the Balticconnector pipeline, which connects Finland with Estonia, a member of the European Union.
Last month, Moscow cut off gas to Poland and Bulgaria, which the European Union called “blackmail,” but importers in some other EU countries more dependent on Russian gas plan to open ruble accounts with Gazprom.

Finland and neighboring Sweden this week violated their historic military non-alignment and applied to join NATO after public support for the alliance increased after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.


“Gross mistake”

Moscow has warned Finland that joining NATO would be a “serious mistake with far-reaching consequences”, and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said he would respond by building military bases in western Russia.
But both Finland and Sweden now appear to be on a fast track to joining the military alliance, and US President Joe Biden this week offered “full, full, full support” to their applications.

All 30 current NATO members must agree on any new members, and Turkey has condemned Sweden’s alleged tolerance of Kurdish militants, but diplomats are confident they will be able to avoid a veto.

In Ukraine, the fiercest fighting is in the eastern Donbass region, a Russian-speaking region that has been partially controlled by pro-Kremlin separatists since 2014.
“They completely destroyed Rubezhnoye, Wonakvah, as well as Mariupol,” Zelensky said on Friday, adding that the Russians “tried to do the same with Severodonetsk and many other cities.”

In Severodonetsk, a front-line city now under threat from the encirclement, 12 people were killed and 40 wounded in Russian shelling, the region’s governor said.

“End of operation”

Zelensky described the bombing of Severodonetsk as “brutal and utterly pointless,” as residents staggering in basements described an endless ordeal of terror.
The city is part of the last hotbed of Ukrainian resistance in Luhansk, which together with the neighboring Donetsk region is part of the war zone in the Donbass.
On Friday, Moscow said the battle for the Azovstal metallurgical plant in Mariupol, a symbol of Ukraine’s stubborn resistance since Putin’s invasion on February 24, was over.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Kanashenko said that 2,439 Ukrainian servicemen had surrendered at the metallurgical plant since May 16, and 500 on Friday.

APTOPIX Ukraine Russia Mariupol

Ukrainian servicemen are sitting in a bus after they were evacuated from the blockade of Mariupol’s Azovstal metallurgical plant on Tuesday, May 17, 2022. Source: AP / Alexey Alexandrov / AP

Ukraine hopes to exchange Azovstal soldiers, who surrender, for Russian prisoners. But in Donetsk, pro-Kremlin authorities are threatening to sue some of them.

Mr Biden called the war in Ukraine part of the US-led struggle, pitting democracy against authoritarianism.
The US Congress this week approved a $ 40 billion aid package, including funds to improve Ukraine’s armored vehicles and air defense system.

And at a meeting in Germany, the G7 industrialized nations pledged $ 19.8 billion to support Ukraine’s shattered public finances.

Life underground

Although the invasion has weakened around the northeastern city of Kharkiv, it remains within range of Russian artillery, and hundreds of people are refusing to leave the relative safety of its metro system.
“We are tired. You can see how comfortable we are at home, ”says 35-year-old Katsyaryna Talpa, pointing to a mattress and a sheet on the ground and food in a cardboard box.
She and her husband Yuri are doing their best to cope at the Soviet-era station “Heroes of Labor”, along with their cats Marek and Sima.

“They’re used to it,” Ms. Talpa said.


Previous article2022 federal election: Scott Morrison’s “empathy” will not extend to Biloel’s family, says Novak Djokovic
Next articleAs global plastic production declines, the corporate sector continues to lag behind