Russia could start gas blackmail with Europe as cold weather sets in: Ukraine

Ukraine has claimed that Russia could start blackmailing Europe with gas as cold weather sets in. Andriy Yermak, head of the Ukrainian president’s office, said Russia would start gas blackmail on top of the food crisis. Picking up his Telegram handle, Yermak noted that Russia would take these steps because Russia has expressed its willingness to unblock Ukrainian ports in exchange for the lifting of sanctions against them.

“It cannot be ruled out that in addition to the food crisis, Russia will start blackmailing Europe with gas with the onset of cold weather,” Andriy Yermak said on Telegram.

Andriy Yermak called on the European Union to show “strength and unity” and to continue to impose sanctions against Russia. He reiterated the Ukrainian government’s call for providing arms, economic support to Ukraine, the embargo on Russian oil and the imposition of sanctions against Russian banking systems. He stressed that actions against Russia must be “swift and without hesitation” and stressed that the Kremlin would otherwise try to break up the EU and continue the blackmail.

Yermak’s statement comes as Ukraine accuses Russia of blockading Ukrainian ports and not allowing the export of grain. Andriy Yermak’s statement comes after Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko said on May 25 that Russia was willing to provide a humanitarian corridor for ships carrying food to leave Ukraine in exchange for lifting of some sanctions, the Interfax news agency reported.

Andrei Rudenko also called on Ukraine to demine its ports and added that “solving the food problem” would require a “comprehensive approach”.

“It is very important to immediately demonstrate the power of this unity of the Western world,” Andriy Yermak said on Telegram.

European Commission President accuses Rusisa of disrupting Ukraine’s food exports

Earlier on May 24, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen accused Russia of “deliberately” bombing grain warehouses across Ukraine. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Leyen said Russian warships continued to block Ukrainian ships carrying wheat and sunflower seeds in the Black Sea. The President of the European Commission has accused Russia of disrupting Ukraine’s food exports in order to “blackmail” into raising world prices.

The President of the European Commission pointed out that there are 20 million tonnes of wheat blocked in Ukraine. According to Ursula von der Leyen, Ukraine before the war used to export 5 million tons of wheat every month and now it has been reduced to 1 million tons. She said Europe is working to get grain from Ukraine to world markets and stressed that this will help Ukrainians with income.

Image: AP

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Mary I. Bruner