Zelensky urges energy-rich countries to spend time on Putin’s ‘blackmail’

Volodymyr Zelensky has called on energy producing countries to increase production to prevent Russia from using its oil and gas to “blackmail” European nations.

His appeal comes a day after EU leaders commit to buy along with natural gas and Germany announced targets to rapidly reduce dependence on Russian energy.

Addressing a conference attended by many Gulf officials in Doha, Qatar, by video link, the President of Ukraine called on “responsible countries, in particular Qatar” to be “a supplier of natural resources”. reliable and reputable energy can contribute to stabilizing the situation in Europe”.

“They can do more to restore justice. The future of Europe depends on your efforts,” he said. “I urge you to increase energy production so that Russia understands that no state can use energy as a weapon and blackmail the world.”

Speaking at the same conference, Saad al-Kaabi, Qatar’s Energy Minister and QatarEnergy CEO, said: “We’re clear about trying to support Europeans and Americans. We said episodes could be diverted from Europe, even if we could buy it at a higher price, we wouldn’t redirect them. “

However, he previously said that no other country can replace the total volume produced by Russia. Qatar, the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG), estimates that it can only transfer about 10-15% of its volume to Europe. The Gulf nation sells most of its LNG to Asian customers, who are locked into long-term fixed contracts.

The United States said on Friday it would aim to supply at least 15 billion cubic meters (bcm) of additional LNG to the EU this year along with other producers, as Western allies intensify efforts to determine reshape global energy markets and punish Moscow.

In Warsaw on Saturday, US President Joe Biden said NATO unity was crucial to maintain pressure on Russia and reassured Poland that NATO would defend it against any aggression. of Russia. US officials have suggested that Poland may be vulnerable, although there is no indication of a specific attack.

Biden told Andrzej Duda, Poland’s president, that the alliance’s mutual protection clause is “a sacred commitment, not a throwaway. . . concerning every member of Nato. . . for your freedom and ours”.

The coalition needs to remain “absolute, complete, radically united” with “no separation of opinion,” he said. “Everything we do, we do in sync and everyone goes along.”

Biden visited a stadium for refugees from Ukraine, then he called Vladimir Putin a “butcher” and said some children had asked him to pray for their fathers and grandfathers. stay to fight.

He also met top Ukrainian officials to discuss additional support for their defenses, according to the White House.

Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told the Doha conference that the international community must find “an exit that can save face, or an honorable exit for both sides. [that] they can sell it publicly”.

Turkey has brokered peace talks between the two sides, along with Israel. Mr. Cavusoglu said there was a communication channel back and forth between the presidents of Russia and Ukraine, but did not give any details.

Washington has been pressuring Gulf states, especially Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, to increase crude oil production to help lower oil prices. But Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, which coordinate output levels through Opec+, including Russia, have so far opposed.

Saudi officials say the increase in oil prices is not due to a lack of supply and that increased production will have little effect on prices. They also warn that there is a global shortage of production capacity.

Zelensky on Saturday said it was “a matter of time” before European countries refused to buy Russian oil and gas, adding that sanctions against Russia were “for one purpose only.” only – it is to start Russia looking for peace, so that it does not pose a common threat”.

The US president told the Polish head of state that Nato’s mutual protection clause is a sacred commitment. © Marcin Obara / EPA-EFE / Shutterstock

Moscow said on Friday, it refocused its month-long military offensive on the country’s eastern Donbas region. But Ukrainian authorities and Western officials reacted cautiously to the announcement of a change in military strategy.

Ukraine’s military on Saturday said Russia “continues to regroup and build up forces to resume offensive operations”.

Russia has deployed “almost all” of its units stationed in Crimea, which Moscow annexed in 2014, and in some Kherson, Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk districts, “to prevent resistance from [local] residents”, Ukrainian forces said. Kharkiv officials said the city was shelled overnight.

A British intelligence update said Russia continued to attack Kharkiv, Chernihiv and Mariupol, adding that its forces “showed reluctance” to engage in large-scale ground operations in urban.

“It is highly likely that Russia will continue to use heavy firepower on urban areas to limit its own already substantial losses, at the expense of additional civilian casualties,” the British Ministry of Defense said. “, said the British Ministry of Defense.

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