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Ukrainians left with one way out of Sievierodonetsk as fierce fighting rages

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© Reuters. A local resident looks at grass that is on fire after a shelling, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, near the town of Bakhmut, Donetsk region Ukraine June 12, 2022. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

2/5

(Adds evacuation train, evacuee quotes)

By Natalia Zinets and Maria Starkova

KYIV (Reuters) – Ukrainian defenders were fighting fiercely for “every metre” of Sievierodonetsk, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said, as Russian forces destroyed a bridge to another city across the river, leaving stranded civilians with just one way out.

Russian forces have taken most of Sievierodonetsk, having pulverized parts of the city in one of the bloodiest assaults since they invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, and victory there could give them momentum in a wider battle for control over Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region.

“The key tactical goal of the occupiers has not changed: they are pressing in Sievierodonetsk, severe fighting is ongoing there – literally for every metre,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address on Sunday, adding that Russia’s military was trying to pour reserves into the Donbas.

Zelenskiy said the image of a 12-year-old wounded in a Russian strike was now the enduring worldwide face of Russia.

“These very facts will underscore the way in which Russia is seen by the world,” he said.

“Not Peter the Great, not Lev Tolstoy, but children injured and killed in Russian attacks,” he said, in an apparent reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s remarks last week comparing Moscow’s military campaign to Russian emperor Peter the Great’s 18th century conquest of lands held by Sweden.

Ukrainian and Russian forces were still fighting street-by-street in Sievierodonetsk on Sunday, the governor of Luhansk province, Serhiy Gaidai, said.

Russian forces have taken most of the city but Ukrainian troops remain in control of an industrial area and the Azot chemical plant where hundreds of civilians are sheltering.

“About 500 civilians remain on the grounds of the Azot plant in Sievierodonetsk, 40 of them are children. Sometimes the military manages to evacuate someone,” Gaidai said.

But the Russians had destroyed a bridge over the Siverskyi Donets River linking Sievierodonetsk with its twin city of Lysychansk, Gaidai said.

That left just one of three bridges still standing.

“If after new shelling the bridge collapses, the city will truly be cut off. There will be no way of leaving Sievierodonetsk in a vehicle,” Gaidai said, noting the lack of a cease-fire agreement and no agreed evacuation corridors.

Gaidai said Lysychansk was also being shelled by Russian forces, and a six-year-old child had been killed there.

Reuters could not independently confirm that account.

In Pokrovsk, southwest of Sievierodonetsk, women, children and elderly, some in wheelchairs, boarded the only train evacuating people on Saturday, at the start of a long journey from the conflict zone to safety in Lviv near the border with Poland.

“We held on until the last moment, we didn’t want to leave, but life has forced us to survive,” Lyuba, a woman from Lysychansk, told Reuters Television as she waited for the train to depart. “We are leaving, we don’t know where, to whom, but we are leaving.”

STRATEGIC IMPLICATIONS

The fall of Sievierodonetsk, in the last pocket of Ukrainian land held in the strategic Luhansk region, would move Russia a big step closer to one of the stated goals of what Putin calls a “special military operation.”

Russian forces were firing mortars and artillery south and southwest of Sievierodonetsk, according to Ukraine’s general staff. But it said Ukrainian forces had repulsed Russian attempts to advance towards some communities.

Reuters could not independently verify the battlefield reports.

After being forced to scale back its initial goals following its Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, Moscow has turned its attention to expanding control in the Donbas, where pro-Russian separatists have held territory since 2014.

Russian forces have engaged in the constant bombardment of cities in the south and east, leaving many in ruins and thousands of civilians dead, according to the United Nations.

Elsewhere, Russian cruise missiles destroyed a large depot containing U.S. and European weapons in western Ukraine’s Ternopil region, Russia’s Interfax agency reported.

Ternopil’s governor said rockets fired from the Black Sea at the city of Chortkiv had partly destroyed a military facility and injured 22 people. A local official said there were no weapons stored there.

Reuters could not independently confirm the differing accounts.

On Sunday, the Ukrainian general staff said on Facebook (NASDAQ:META) that General Valeriy Zaluzhny, the head of Ukraine’s armed forces, had spoken to General Mark Milley, the top U.S. military officer, and reiterated a request for more heavy artillery systems.

Moscow has criticised the United States and other nations for sending Ukraine weapons, threatening to strike new targets if the West supplied long-range missiles.

Putin says Russia’s actions aim to disarm and “denazify” Ukraine. Kyiv and its allies call it an unprovoked war of aggression to capture territory.

Also on Sunday, the leader of the Russian-backed separatist Donetsk region in the Donbas said there was no reason to pardon two British nationals sentenced to death last week after being captured along with a Moroccan man while fighting for Ukraine. Britain says they were regular soldiers exempt under the Geneva Conventions from prosecution for participation in hostilities.

Separately, the family of a former British soldier, Jordan Gatley, said on social media he was killed fighting for Ukraine in Sievierodonetsk.

Commodities

Large tanker jam at the Bosphorus due to russian oil price cap

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oil price cap news

The embargo on Russian oil shipments from Russia and the Russian oil price cap came into force on December 5. On December 5, an embargo on sea shipments of oil from Russia and Russian oil price cap came into force.

This is now the most relevant oil price cap news. Now ships carrying Russian crude will be able to access Western insurers only if the crude is sold at $60 a barrel or lower. According to four oil industry representatives, Turkey has demanded a new insurance confirmation because of the price cap.

According to ship brokers, oil traders and satellite tracking services, about 19 tankers carrying Crude Oil piled up in Turkish waters on Monday, Dec. 5. According to a ship broker, the first tanker arrived as early as Nov. 29. According to information from ship brokers and the tankertrackers.com service, most of the oil is of Kazakh origin.

Since December 5, price limits for Russian oil have come into force; the limit is $60 per barrel. The price ceiling was agreed by the G7 countries (USA, Great Britain, Germany, France, Canada, Italy and Japan), as well as Australia and the European Union. Besides, the European embargo on deliveries of Russian crude oil by sea became effective. As explained in the U.S. Treasury, now, Russia has two choices: to supply crude oil under the price ceiling, using the services of “best in class” companies of G7 countries, or to use the expensive services of “less reliable” companies outside the G7.

The Kremlin declined to acknowledge any limits. According to Russian presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, a decision on retaliatory measures is “being prepared. He called the West’s actions “a step towards destabilizing world energy markets. The Russian side has repeatedly warned that it will stop supplying energy resources to countries that limit the price.

Earlier we reported that the G7 countries support limiting the price of Russian oil.

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Commodities

Caracas and Chevron will soon sign a series of contracts on crude oil production in Venezuela

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crude oil production in Venezuela

Caracas and Chevron will sign a series of contracts after Washington allowed the company to start crude oil production in Venezuela, local oil minister Tarek El Aissami said Tuesday.

According to the EFE news agency, the minister was informed of a “productive working meeting” with Chevron Venezuela head Javier La Rosa. “In the coming hours we will sign contracts to spur the development of joint ventures and oil production,” the minister said. What exactly will be in those contracts has not yet been disclosed.

The U.S. Treasury Department said earlier in November that it had allowed Chevron Corp (NYSE:CVX). To resume resource extraction activities in Venezuela on a limited scale. If it is possible to influence the world oil market in this way, the situation on the stock market, including Boeing stock price predictions, will also improve.

Note that the cost of oil production in Venezuela compared with world prices is very low. According to the document, the company is allowed to extract, transport and supply to the United States oil or oil products produced by joint ventures (JV) Chevron (the license does not allow delivery to any other countries), as well as to carry out any related maintenance and repair on the joint venture assets. Also, Chevron was granted the right to purchase and import into Venezuela goods or resources related to the above activities, including diluents, condensates, oil or natural gas products.

We previously reported that oil prices are rising on the supply and demand outlook.

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Commodities

Why is oil getting more expensive? Price rises on supply and demand outlook

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why is oil getting more expensive

Global oil prices moved higher Thursday afternoon, trading data showed. Why is oil getting more expensive? Investors continue to assess the prospects for the balance of supply and demand in the market, including the OPEC+ deal.

Why have oil prices gone up so much? The price of January futures on Brent grew 0.83% to $87.69 per barrel, while February futures on WTI grew 0.87% to $81.25. Oil was getting cheaper by 0.5% in the morning.

Why have oil prices gone up so much?

Investors continue to watch the outlook for oil supply and demand. Thus, investors are waiting for the OPEC+ meeting, which is scheduled for Sunday, December 4. Traders assess whether the parameters of the oil agreement will be changed. Because the situation remains tense, even the stock market is falling. The trend can even be seen in Walt Disney stock price predictions.

Traders also fear a possible recession amid global central bank policy to raise rates due to high inflation as well as China’s measures to combat the coronavirus. The economic outlook could affect oil demand.

“The OPEC+ decision remains uncertain, but an extension of current production cuts is likely. The group will need to better understand China’s real measures on COVID before doing anything else with production levels,” Vanir Global Markets Pte. managing director James Whistler told Bloomberg. James Whistler.

Earlier, we reported that Bloomberg learned about the EU’s discussion of a $60 price ceiling on Russian oil.

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