According to a statement by Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov, Ukraine plans to form an army of one million soldiers armed with NATO-supplied weapons, with the aim of reclaiming the south of the country from the Russians.
Reznikov said that the restoration ofarea around the Black Sea coast was “vital” to the country’s economy.
The Ukrainian minister’s statements came with the Russians advancing on the ground in the Donbass region in the east of the country, where Russian forces are trying to tighten their grip. The Nord Stream 1 pipeline transports 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea.
The maintenance process will continue from 11 to 21 July.
Last month, Russia reduced gas flow to 40% of the pipeline’s total capacity, citing delays in returning equipment in repair by the German Siemens Energy in Canada.
Canada said over the weekend it would return the overhauled turbines, but also said it would expand sanctions against the Russian energy sector.
Europe fears that Russia will extend scheduled maintenance to further reduce European gas supplies, which will halt plans to store gas for the winter and exacerbate the gas crisis which has led to emergency measures by the governments and painfully high bills for consumers.
German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said the country faces the possibility of Russia suspending gas flows through Nord Stream 1 beyond the scheduled maintenance period.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied allegations that Russia was using oil and gas to exert political pressure, saying the shutdown caused by the maintenance was a regular and scheduled event and that there are other large pipelines carrying gas from the Russia to Europe, but flows began to gradually decline, especially after Ukraine shut down one of its gas pipelines in May and blamed it on the Russian invasion.
Russia has also completely cut off gas supplies to several European countries that have not complied with its request to pay the return in rubles.
Tim Keeler, chief executive of the Zukunft Gas Industry Association, said that the last few months have revealed a truth, namely that Putin does not know taboos and therefore a complete suspension of gas supplies through the Nord Stream pipeline cannot be ruled out.
Training of Ukrainian forces in Great Britain
On the other hand, the first batch of Ukrainian soldiers, many of whom have no previous military experience, arrived in the UK for combat training and the British Ministry of Defense said that the prime a few hundred recruits are receiving training in locations in Great Britain in the first phase of the program, which aims to train up to ten thousand Ukrainian soldiers in weapon handling, first aid in the field and patrol tactics.
The program is part of a broader support package for Ukraine that includes £ 2.3 billion in anti-tank weapons, missile systems and other equipment.
Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said: “Using the global experience of the British military, we will help Ukraine rebuild its forces and increase their resistance while defending their country’s sovereignty and their right to choose their own. future”.
Kiev plans to take back Kherson
Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister urged civilians in the Russian-controlled southern Kherson region to urgently evacuate thearea, while the Ukrainian armed forces prepare to launch a counterattack there. Ukraine has lost control of most of the Black Sea region of Kherson, including its eponymous capital, in the prime weeks after the launch of the Russian military operation on February 24. “Obviously there will be fighting and there will be artillery, so we urge people to evacuate urgently,” Deputy Prime Minister Irina Verichuk told national television.
He added that he could not say exactly when the Ukrainian counterattack on Kherson would take place. Moscow-based Kherson authorities say they want a referendum on joining Russia, but have not yet set a date for it. The Kremlin says the region’s future must be decided by its residents.