Eight people were injured after a Russian attack on a Palace of Culture in the Kharkiv region. As announced, Russia stops gas supplies to Finland – and classifies chess legend Kasparov as a “foreign agent”. What happened tonight in the Ukraine war.
Russia has stopped its gas supplies to Finland. “The natural gas deliveries to Finland under the Gasum supply contract have been suspended,” said the Finnish state-owned energy company Gasum on Saturday. The Russian energy giant Gazprom announced the delivery stop on Friday, referring to the dispute over ruble payments.
Gasum explained that gas is now being sourced from other sources via the Balticconnector pipeline, which connects Finland and Estonia. Gasum had already emphasized on Friday that a Russian delivery stop would not lead to supply problems in Finland.
Gazprom announced on Friday that it would stop gas supplies to Finland from 06:00 CEST on Saturday. The reason given by the company was that the April deliveries had not been paid for on time. Gasum had rejected Moscow’s request to pay bills for gas deliveries in rubles. Natural gas accounts for eight percent of the Finnish energy mix. So far, most of the gas has come from Russia.
The Russian government has put former world chess champion Garry Kasparov and Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky on its list of “foreign agents.” The 59-year-old Kasparov and the 58-year-old ex-tycoon Khodorkovsky also had their activities financed by “sources” in Ukraine, the Russian Justice Ministry justified the move on Friday in an updated version of its list of “foreign agents”.
They are subject to numerous restrictions and requirements, including being required to state their “foreign agent” status in all their publications. The classification is reminiscent of the defamation of critics in the Soviet Union as “enemies of the people” and is used extensively against opposition politicians and journalists critical of the government and human rights activists. The Kremlin accuses them of having their activities financed from abroad.
The well-known former world chess champion Kasparov has long been a critic of Russia’s leader Vladimir Putin. He has lived in the USA for almost a decade.
After weeks of fierce fighting, the Russian army has claimed complete control of the Azovstal steelworks in the Ukrainian port of Mariupol. All enemy fighters surrendered, the Ministry of Defense announced on Saturday night in Moscow. The sprawling industrial complex on the Azov Sea was the last place in the strategically important port city in south-eastern Ukraine that had not yet been fully under Russian control.
The Ukrainian side initially did not comment on the alleged capture of the plant. According to information from Moscow, a total of 2,439 Ukrainian soldiers holed up in Soviet-era bunkers have been taken prisoner by the Russians since May 16. The last group of 531 fighters was captured on Friday, it said. The steelworks had been besieged by Russian troops since April 21.
The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj blamed the West for the development – in a television interview recorded before the Russian announcement of the capture. He has repeatedly called on Western leaders to provide his country with “appropriate weapons so that we can reach Mariupol to liberate these people.”
Rocket attack on cultural center – seven injured
Zelenskyi also blamed Russia for a rocket attack on a cultural center in the east of the country that injured eight. An eleven-year-old child was also injured in the shelling in the city of Lozova in the Kharkiv region, the head of state wrote on the Telegram news channel. “The occupiers have identified culture, education and humanity as their enemies.” Russia, in turn, accused Ukraine of misusing civilian objects for military purposes.
Former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen criticized the German government’s cautious course on this point. Germany is “too hesitant to deliver heavy weapons and impose sanctions,” the Dane told the Handelsblatt newspaper. “Of course, Germany is highly dependent on Russian gas imports, but I think a clear stance from the federal government would change the whole dynamic in Ukraine. We need German leadership.” Rasmussen called for an immediate halt to all oil and gas imports from Russia to Europe.
Because of the massive destruction in his country, Zelenskyy mentioned in his nightly video speech a fund for compensation payments to countries that Russia had damaged with attacks. That could be regulated in a “multilateral agreement”. Zelenskyy suggested freezing or confiscating Russian capital and property abroad and transferring it to this new fund. “That would be fair,” he said.
According to Ukrainian estimates, war damage in Ukraine already totals hundreds of billions of euros. Russia began its attack on the neighboring country at the end of February.
The new international Ukraine contact group plans to reconnect on Monday. The US Department of Defense announced that this time the meeting would be held via video. There will be representatives from more than 40 countries. At the end of April, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin invited partners from around 40 countries to a meeting at the US Air Force base in Ramstein, Rhineland-Palatinate, to discuss aid for Ukraine. There he had promised future meetings of the contact group on a monthly basis.
Read everything about the political developments surrounding the Ukraine war in the news ticker.
Also read: The Ukraine update on May 20th – Schröder leaves Rosneft, last fighter leaves steelworks: What happened today