“Natural gas deliveries to Finland under the Gasum supply contract have been interrupted,” said the Finnish public energy company, assuring that it could obtain gas from other suppliers and continue its activities “normally”. Supplier Gazprom confirmed the suspension.
The Nordic country, which angered Moscow by deciding to join NATO, joins Poland and Bulgaria among the countries to which Gazprom cut gas because they refused to pay in rubles, a demand formulated in April . Finland has already been deprived of Russian electricity exports since mid-May.
In Ukraine, where Russian forces launched an invasion on February 24, the Azovstal steel complex in Mariupol, the last pocket of resistance in this strategic port on the Sea of Azov, “passed under the complete control of the Russian armed forces” after the surrender of the last Ukrainian soldiers, the spokesman for the Russian Ministry of Defense said on Friday evening, adding that the news had been transmitted to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Footage released by Moscow showed cohorts of men in combat gear emerging from the steelworks, some with crutches or bandages, after a long battle that had become a symbol of Ukrainian resistance to the Russian invasion.
– “Rescuing our heroes” –
“The higher military command has given the order to save the lives of the soldiers of our garrison and to stop defending the city”, said in a video on Telegram the commander of the Azov regiment, Denys Prokopenko, a large bandage on the right arm and the swollen left, from what appeared to be an underground room.
kyiv rejects the term surrender, Mr. Zelensky referring to “the rescue of our heroes”.
The Russian military released footage on Friday evening that it said was of the search of unarmed Ukrainian fighters by Russian soldiers.
Ukraine hopes to exchange prisoners of war but Russia has let it be known, implicitly targeting the Azov regiment, that it considers some of them to be “neo-Nazi” fighters.
The International Committee of the Red Cross has urged both sides to grant it access to prisoners of war and civilian internees, “wherever they are held”.
The battle for control of Mariupol has resulted in multiple accusations of war crimes by Western powers, including the attack on a maternity hospital.
Ukraine has opened more than 12,000 war crimes investigations since February 24, according to the Ukrainian Prosecutor’s Office.
Sergeant Vadim Chichimarine, 21, on Friday admitted killing an unarmed civilian at the start of the offensive, in the first trial of a Russian soldier accused of war crimes since the start of the invasion, whose verdict is expected on Monday.
The young soldier said he was “sincerely sorry”, but his lawyer declared him “not guilty” of premeditated murder and war crimes in his closing arguments.
– Counter-offensive in June? –
After having failed to take kyiv and Kharkiv, the second Ukrainian city (North-East), Russia is concentrating its military efforts in the East and the South.
“The enemy is constantly carrying out offensive operations in the eastern operational zone in order to establish full control over the territory of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and to maintain the land corridor with temporarily occupied Crimea,” the state said. -major of the Ukrainian forces on Facebook on Saturday morning.
In the Donbass coal basin, partially controlled since 2014 by pro-Russian separatists, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu assured that the conquest of the Lugansk region was “almost complete”.
Ukrainian Defense Ministry spokesman Oleksandre Motouzianyk said the situation “showed signs of worsening”, and that “Russian occupation forces are conducting intense fire along the entire front line”.
“While we are resisting, our troops are receiving foreign weapons, rearming, regrouping, and I think that in June we will see the counter-attack”, assured local governor Serguiï Gaïdaï on the night of Friday to Saturday.
In Lozova, a city in the east, at least eight people including a child were injured by a Russian missile strike on a newly rebuilt cultural center, Ukrainian officials said on Friday.
– “Humanitarian corridors” –
Russian strikes left 12 dead and 40 injured on Thursday in Severodonetsk, in the Lugansk region, according to Mr. Gaïdaï, an attack described by Mr. Zelensky as “brutal and absolutely useless”, while the inhabitants cowered in the basements described an endless ordeal of terror.
Severodonetsk and Lyssytchansk, separated by a river, constitute the last pocket of Ukrainian resistance in the region.
While the negotiations carried out a few weeks ago under Turkish mediation are at a standstill, Italy indicated on Friday that it had proposed the formation of an “international facilitation group composed of international organizations” such as the UN, the EU and the OSCE.
“The objective is to work step by step (…) starting, for example, with localized truces, the evacuation of civilians, the possibility of opening secure humanitarian corridors, and then of course building up to reach to a general ceasefire, then a lasting peace with a real peace agreement,” Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said in Turin.
It is now time for war, and the G7 countries meeting in Germany promised on Friday to mobilize 19.8 billion dollars (18.7 billion euros) to help Ukraine “fill its financial deficit.
The day before, the American Congress released a gigantic envelope of 40 billion dollars for Ukraine, aiming in particular to allow Ukraine to equip itself with armored vehicles and to strengthen its anti-aircraft defense.