Live blog | Zelensky Appoints New Eastern Ukrainian Commander; Gazprom increases pipeline pressure without warning

Ukraine reports heavy bombing on south coast

11:35 | According to regional authorities, southern Ukraine was hit by ‘massive’ Russian bombing on Tuesday morning. That would be the coastal town of Zatoka, south of Odessa, and the town of Mikolayiv. According to the army, missiles also landed on the port infrastructure in Mikolayiv.

The governor of Mikolayiv says ‘critical infrastructure’ has been damaged, but it is not clear if this relates to the port. There would have been no casualties. The city is close to the front line in southern Ukraine and is therefore often hit by Russian shelling.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky posted a video on social media of destroyed buildings in Zatoka, a popular seaside resort on the Black Sea. He writes that it is an ordinary village, ‘without bases, without troops, the Russian terrorists would just shoot’.

According to the Ukrainian army, the Russian missiles come from planes flying over the Black Sea. The attacks on the coast come just days after Russia and Ukraine reached an agreement to export grain through the Black Sea. On Saturday, the Russians shelled the port of Odessa. Many international leaders and organizations reacted angrily to the attack, fearing that the grain agreement would be jeopardized. Ukraine hopes to resume grain shipments this week.

German export sector gloomy due to impending gas shortages

10:25 | The looming gas shortage leads to a gloomy outlook in the German export sector. This is the conclusion of a survey conducted by the German Ifo Institute among approximately 2,300 industrial companies. Especially in the chemical industry, where the consumption of natural gas is particularly high, companies have become significantly more negative towards foreign trade.

On Monday, the Russian state gas company Gazprom announced that from Wednesday it will once again reduce gas deliveries via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. The stated reason was the repair of a turbine. Since the war in Ukraine, to which the West has responded with severe sanctions against Russia, the risk of Moscow turning off the gas completely has increased. It would hit the German economy, which is heavily dependent on Russian gas. Since Germany is the largest economy in Europe and an important trading partner for the Netherlands, it will also have consequences for the entire euro area.

Export expectations, a mood indicator for German industry, fell to minus 0.5 points in July, according to the Ifo Institute. In addition to chemical companies, food producers have also become more pessimistic. Printers and producers of rubber and plastic products also expect a drop in foreign trade, and German furniture makers have also become more cautious.

‘Russian regime change in Ukraine is not real’

10:10 | Ukrainian armed forces have successfully destroyed dozens of Russian weapons depots using Western Himar missile systems, according to Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov. In addition, the Russian Defense Ministry reports that the Russian army in Ukraine successfully carried out an attack on an ammunition depot for US precision weapons.

No info on Ukrainian warship in port of Odessa

08:27 | Britain’s Ministry of Defense said there was “no indication” that Ukraine had a warship and a stockpile of anti-ship missiles in the port of Odessa last weekend, when Russia said it destroyed those targets with precision weapons.

The daily intelligence update also states that Russia sees anti-ship missiles as a major threat because they limit the effectiveness of the Russian Navy in the Black Sea and thus undermine the invasion plan. Russia could ‘not realistically’ try to capture Odessa from the water.

Destroying and weakening Ukraine’s ability to attack ships remains a priority for Russia, the British say. They also write that the Russians are dealing with, among other things, outdated intelligence and poor planning.

The missile attack came after Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations reached a long-awaited agreement on the export of Ukrainian grain. As a result, it was feared that the deal would not go through. According to Russia, the attack was aimed at military targets and will not affect the departing ships.

EU member states agree on an emergency plan for gas

04:38 | The member states of the European Union have reached an agreement on the gas supply next winter, reports the news agency DPA on the basis of anonymous diplomats. The contingency plan states that member states will voluntarily use 15 percent less gas between August and March.

This is to prevent households and essential facilities such as hospitals from being literally left out in the cold this coming winter if Russia cuts gas supplies further or completely.

In addition, a mechanism will be set up to issue a warning if there is a threat of gas shortages in the EU as a whole. Then targets for gas savings can be made mandatory. These mandatory savings can only be enforced by the European Council, not by the Commission.

Ambassador receives the Independence Award for Zelenski

03:32 | Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will receive a new award on Tuesday, the so-called Dutch Independence Award. This award is an initiative of the Dutch Independence Foundation.

With the award, the foundation wants to honor people ‘who, in addition to thinking, also ‘act’ independently’, the organization previously reported. People who offer a perspective on the way states could or should relate to each other and translate their words into action. People who keep the concept of independence alive by renewing its content.’

The award will not be presented to Zelensky himself on Tuesday, but to the Ukrainian ambassador Maksym Kononenko. He receives the bronze statue in De Paauw Town Hall in Wassenaar from Chairman Jan Anthonie Bruijn of the Senate. Before that, the Ukrainian writer Andrei Kurkov will give the annual independence speech.

Ukraine: Gazprom increases pipeline pressure without warning

03:26 | Russian gas company Gazprom has sharply increased the pressure in a pipeline through which gas flows to Europe without warning, says the Ukrainian state-owned company that manages the gas pipeline.

Such pressure increases can lead to emergency situations, such as the rupture of a pipeline. Equipment operators should therefore warn each other before increasing pressure.

Zelensky appoints new commander-in-chief for Eastern Ukraine

00:01 | Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has replaced a commander in eastern Ukraine. Since August 2020, Hryhori Halahan has commanded specially trained military units fighting in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions against pro-Russian separatists and the Russian army, which invaded the country in February 2022. The 44-year-old major general has been replaced by Viktor Khorenko.

A cause has not been disclosed. The Kyiv Independent reports that the special forces conduct reconnaissance missions and covert operations behind enemy lines.

In eastern Ukraine (Donbas) Ukrainian troops have suffered heavy losses. The two regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, where there has been fighting since 2014, are now largely in the hands of the Russians.

The General Staff of the Ukrainian Army reported on Monday both new successes and defeats at the front.

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