On the 220th day of the war in Ukraine, Kiev’s victories on the ground and new energy tensions were recorded, while questions were raised about possible developments of the crisis on the Russian side. If, thanks to China’s abstention, Moscow avoided UN censorship for the annexation of the occupied Ukrainian territories, on the other hand it has to face the Kiev counteroffensive, which will not be slowed down by the official proclamation of Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson, etc. Zaporizhia as new provinces of the Federation.
In Lyman, a strategic hub in the east, “Russian troops, over 5,000 soldiers, are surrounded by the Ukrainian army Lugansk soldier Sergiy Gaidai. Ukrainian troops had already cut ground communications in support of the Russians in the Drobysheve-Lyman area and took control of the roads. But the official announcement came soon after, with Moscow’s acknowledgment as well: withdrawal from the key city in Donetsk province “towards more advantageous positions” and the blue and yellow flag hoisted on the flagpole by the soldiers who drove out the invaders. Damage is also reported in Crimea at a Russian airbase that may have been hit by a raid by Kiev forces.
Meanwhile, the hypothesis is surfacing, reports British newspaper The Guardian, that the bombs that caused four leaks in the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines could have been placed about 80 meters deep in the exclusive economic zones of Sweden and Denmark which were the Maintenance robots that operate inside the plant during repair work. “Should this theory prove correct,” the experts surveyed said, “the sophisticated nature of the attack and the force of the blast would reinforce suspicions that the attacks were carried out by a finger-wagging state power in Russia.”
Even intelligence sources quoted by the digital edition of the German weekly Spiegel believe that the pipelines were hit by explosions in four places, with exactly 500 kilos of TNT. Investigators in Berlin conducted seismic measurements to calculate the strength of the explosions, which was equivalent to that of a bomb used in air raids. Western remote-controlled divers or robots could be visiting gas leak sites in the next few hours to gather new information. The reasons why Russia might have wanted to carry out an act of self-sabotage have yet to be clarified. use of psychoterrorism? Suspension of deliveries without payment of contractual penalties (unless it can be proven that the explosions were caused by Moscow)? Weird signs of unclear interpretation?
In any case, the Kremlin’s strategy seems to be to continue using energy as a weapon. It also touched Italy with the temporary suspension of Gazprom’s gas supplies to Eni from the Tarvisio line coming from Austria, a disruption that for the time being has no plausible justification. Even if the Russian gas supply is now less than 10% compared to the total available Italy, the signal should not be underestimated. From a purely energetic point of view, Eni’s plan to modernize and diversify supplies will make it possible to gradually replace the volumes of gas imported from Moscow, over 20 billion cubic meters per year, until last year. But despite Algerian purchases, the elimination of Russia’s contribution for the entire winter could lead to rationing when temperatures were particularly low and required above-average use of heating systems.
The words of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who at the inauguration of the Bulgaria-Greece gas pipeline once again called for a common response from Europe to cut energy costs, confirmed the severity of the energy crisis to families and businesses. “The EU has everything it needs to free itself from our dependence on Russia. It’s a matter of political will,” he reiterated. “Without a common European response, we seriously risk fragmentation. As in the past, we must maintain a level playing field and avoid distortions of the internal market.” The so-called Athens-Sofia interconnector will allow the latter to break free of its 80 percent dependence on methane from Russia.
But as the tools at Moscow’s disposal become dull and the fate of the war worsens, uncertainty about the future choices Vladimir Putin can make becomes heavier. The celebrations on Friday, the party in the capital, the “expansion” of the federation risk being just a short bracket that does not change the strategic location on the square. If Ukrainian forces can push further east and the west continues to support Kyiv, the Kremlin will have to deal with the setbacks on the battlefield and the growing distrust of its citizens in the benevolence of this tragic war in the heart of the city in a different way. Europe . And there is a worrying message from Chechen leader Kadyrov: consider using tactical nuclear bombs.