Russia accused of trying to damage grain harvest

Russian natural gas shipments to Europe via the Nord Stream pipeline to Germany are due to stop on Monday for planned annual maintenance.
Image: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

Ukraine accused Russia of trying to choke off the country’s grain harvest by targeting fields and depots in the country’s south.

Russian natural gas shipments to Europe via the Nord Stream pipeline to Germany are due to stop on Monday for planned annual maintenance, and Western allies fear President Vladimir Putin will use the opportunity to cut off flows for good. Even so, gas prices fell Monday after Canada said it would return a stranded turbine for a key Russian pipeline to Germany.

The death toll continues to mount in Ukraine after Russian rockets hit an apartment building in Donetsk, killing at least 18 civilians, as the Kremlin’s forces were grinding their way through the region. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy will soon announce a cabinet shuffle and consolidation of ministries to try to weed out waste and corruption.

(See RSAN on the Bloomberg Terminal for the Russian Sanctions Dashboard.)

Key Developments

  • Gazprom Curtails Gas Flows to Italy by One Third in Further Cut
  • Natural Gas Is Gaining Ground, and the US Has Plenty of It
  • US to Urge India, Japan to Back Plan for Cap on Russia Oil Price
  • Russia Seeks to Punish Expats Who Criticize War on Social Media
  • Putin Is Set to Halt Gas and Germany Fears It’s Not Coming Back
  • Canada to Return Sanctioned Nord Stream Turbine to Germany

On the ground

Ukrainian rescue workers recovered 18 bodies from debris of the apartment block in Chasiv Yar, according to the State Emergencies Service. Russian rockets hit the five-story building near Kramatorsk in Ukraine’s eastern Donestsk region on Sunday. Ukraine sees signs of Russia preparing to renew military activity near Kramatorsk and Bakhmut as its forces continue to shell Ukrainian positions along the front line. Russian jets fired four missiles at Odesa region airspace of occupied Crimea, Deputy Head of the President’s Office Kyrylo Tymoshenko said on Telegram.

(All times CET)

Putin Extends Simplified Citizenship Process to Ukrainians (3:30 p.m.)

Putin is offering all Ukrainians a simplified process for obtaining Russian citizenship, Tass news service reports, citing the text of a decree published Monday.

Prior to the order, residents in the Donetsk and Luhansk separatist republics and in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions of Ukraine were able to utilize the fast-track procedure. Large parts of those areas are occupied by Russian forces.

Russia Current Account Hits Record (3:25 p.m.)

Russia’s current account surplus hit a record of $70.1 billion in the second quarter of the year, as surging revenues from energy and commodity exports helped offset the impact of US and European sanctions.

Russia Is Destroying New Grain Harvest, Ukraine Says (2:05 p.m.)

Grain crops are being destroyed in the southern Mykolayiv and Odesa regions of Ukraine as Russian shells hitting the fields ignite fires, Natalia Humeniuk, a spokeswoman for the military’s southern command, said during a video briefing.

“Their main aim is to destroy everything which they can’t capture and appropriate immediately,” she said, adding that grain depots and elevators are also being targeted. She didn’t elaborate on the size of fields being destroyed as result of attacks.

Romania Starts Probe Against Russia for War Crimes (1:30 p.m.)

Romanian prosecutors said they’re starting an investigation into alleged crimes against humanity committed by Russia during the war in Ukraine.

Dutch Leader Rutte Meets Zelenskiy in Ukraine (1:15 p.m.)

Prime Minister Mark Rutte visited Bucha, Irpin and Borodianka and will hold a joint press conference with Zelenskiy later on Monday, a spokesperson said by phone.

Rutte’s last trip to Ukraine was before the Russian invasion in February.

Euro-Zone Recession Risk Seen Rising (6:00 a.m.)

The probability of an economic contraction has increased to 45% from 30% in the previous survey of economists polled by Bloomberg and 20% before Russia invaded Ukraine. Germany, one of the most vulnerable members of the currency bloc to cutbacks in Russian energy flows, is more likely than not to see economic output shrink.

The rising cost of living is taking an increasing toll on business and consumers who’re emerging from two years of the Covid-19 pandemic. Lower shipments of gas from Russia, meanwhile, pose a threat to winter energy deliveries.

© 2022 Bloomberg

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At the April 2008 Bucharest Nato Summit, Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy were both opposed to Ukraine joining Nato because they believed that Putin would see this as a declaration of war. Europe ignored them and got rid of them politically. Now Europe, and Ukraine in particular, is paying the price for its geopolitical ignorance.

Ukraine has become the battleground for major powers with their opposing national interests. The USA has the military capability to end this war within one week. Russia has to military capability to overrun all of Ukraine within one week. Both these parties prefer to prolong this proxy war between them for strategic reasons.

The destruction of wheat fields and the blockage of grain exports are in the best economic interests of both the USA and Russia. That is why this war will drag on for another decade.

End of comments.

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