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Gazprom halts gas supplies to Europe; UN team at Ukraine nuclear plant ‘not going anywhere’

More than 60 vessels carrying agricultural goods have left Ukrainian ports

ISTANBUL, TURKIYE – AUGUST 09: An aerial view of “Glory” named empty grain ship as Representatives of Russia, Ukraine, Turkiye and the United Nations (UN) of the Joint Coordination Center (JCC) conduct inspection on vessel in Istanbul, Turkiye on August 09, 2022. The UN, Russia, and Ukraine signed a deal on July 22 to reopen three Ukrainian ports — Odessa, Chernomorsk, and Yuzhny — for grain that has been stuck for months because of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, which is now in its sixth month. (Photo by Ali Atmaca/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

More than 60 agricultural vessels have departed Ukraine in the first month since exports restarted, Ukraine’s Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said.

Under the U.N.-backed Black Sea Grain Initiative, a deal to reopen three Ukrainian ports, a total of 1.72 million metric tons of agricultural products have been exported.

The majority of the vessels have departed from Ukraine’s Chornomorsk port.

— Amanda Macias

Gazprom halts gas supplies to Europe after an oil leak was detected on Nord Stream pipeline

Gazprom reported record earnings in 2021 thanks to soaring commodity prices.

Picture Alliance | Picture Alliance | Getty Images

Russia’s Gazprom announced a halt of gas supplies to Europe through the Nord Stream pipeline, citing the need for additional repairs.

Earlier in the week, the Russian gas giant stopped energy supplies to Europe via the pipeline in a planned “maintenance outage” expected to last until Sept. 3.

Gazprom said in an update on the Telegram messaging app that inspectors found an oil leak in the pipeline.

“Gas transportation to the Nord Stream gas pipeline has been completely stopped until the issues on the operation of the equipment are eliminated,” the energy company added on Telegram.

— Amanda Macias

Power unit at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant restored, Ukrainian energy company says

A Russian serviceman stands guard the territory outside the second reactor of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in Energodar on May 1, 2022.

Andrey Borodulin | AFP | Getty Images

Ukraine’s state energy company said a power unit at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant was reconnected to the power grid.

“Today, September 2, 2022, power unit No. 5 of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, which was disconnected as a result of another mortar shelling by the Russian occupying forces at the Zaporizhzhia site, was connected to the power grid at 1:10 p.m,” according to an update from Energoatom on the Telegram messaging app.

“Currently, two power units are operating at the station, which produce electricity for the needs of Ukraine,” the company added, according to an NBC News translation.

— Amanda Macias

More than 9.9 million people have fled Ukraine for EU countries

Refugee children fleeing Ukraine are given blankets by Slovakian rescue workers to keep warm at the Velke Slemence border crossing on March 09, 2022 in Velke Slemence, Slovakia.

Christopher Furlong | Getty Images

The European Commission says that more than 9.9 million people have fled Ukraine and arrived in the EU since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February.

Of the 9.9 million people, approximately 4.1 million have applied for temporary resident status. More than 506,000 Ukrainian children have registered for school in EU member countries.

— Amanda Macias

G-7 finance ministers agree to impose Russian oil price cap

The initial price cap on Russian oil will be set “at a level based on a range of technical inputs.”

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The Group of Seven economic powers agreed on a plan to implement a price capping mechanism on Russian oil exports. The policy is designed to drain the Kremlin’s war chest and better protect consumers amid soaring energy prices.

Ahead of the announcement, Russia warned it would stop selling oil to countries that impose price caps on Russian energy exports and said the imposition of a limit on Russian crude would lead to the significant destabilization of the global oil market.

The G-7 is comprised of the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the U.K. and Japan.

Read the full story here.

— Sam Meredith

Russia could be like ‘North Korea on steroids’ when Putin is replaced

Putin is spinning a false narrative on sanctions, economist says

Former Kremlin advisor Sergei Guriev warned that Russia could become like “North Korea on steroids” when President Vladimir Putin is replaced.

“Regimes like this change in very unpredictable ways,” Guriev told CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick at the Ambrosetti Forum in Italy. “The reason for that is Putin has built his regime in a way nobody can replace him.”

Guriev, a Russian economist who abruptly left the country in 2013, said Putin’s successor would likely not last long because the system is currently built around the 69-year-old leader.

“It could be months, it could be several years, it could be North Korea on steroids, who knows? But it could also be a situation where the system collapses and somebody who wants to rebuild the economy reaches out to the West,” Guriev said.

Read the full story here.

— Sam Meredith

The time is now for a price cap on Russian pipeline gas, EU chief says

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says the time is now for the bloc to impose a price cap on Russian pipeline gas.

John Thys | AFP | Getty Images

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says the 27-nation bloc must urgently establish a price cap on Russian pipeline gas flowing to Europe.

“I firmly believe that it is now time for a price cap on Russian pipeline gas to Europe,” von der Leyen told reporters, according to Reuters.

It comes shortly after Belgian Energy Minister Tinne Van der Straeten warned that the next five to 10 winters in Europe will be “terrible” unless the EU moved swiftly to impose a price cap on runaway gas prices.

— Sam Meredith

Russia warns Moldova not to threaten troops

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a news conference in Moscow, Russia June 6, 2022.

Russian Foreign Ministry | Reuters

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned the Eastern European country of Moldova that any threat against the security of Russian forces in the breakaway region of Transnistria would be considered an attack against Moscow.

“Everyone should understand that any kind of actions that will raise a threat to the security of our servicemen will be considered in accordance with international law as an attack on the Russian Federation,” Lavrov said, according to The Associated Press.

Internationally recognized as part of Moldova, Transnistria is situated on Ukraine’s southwestern border and is home to a sizeable pro-Russian separatist population.

Lavrov’s comments have renewed fears that the region could be at risk of being drawn into the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Moldova’s Foreign Ministry reportedly summoned the acting Russian ambassador to clarify the situation.

— Sam Meredith

UN inspectors at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant ‘not going anywhere’

U.N. inspectors vowed to continue their visit to a Russian-held nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine despite an early shelling attack on the town next to the facility.

Genya Savilov | Afp | Getty Images

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog, is adamant that the team will maintain a continued presence at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine.

His comments come as both Russia and Ukraine say they fear a possible radiation disaster as a result of intense shelling at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant. The IAEA was finally able to visit the site on Thursday after a delay of several hours.

“We are not going anywhere,” Grossi told reporters. “The IAEA is now there, it is at the plant and it is not moving. It is going to stay there. We are going to have a continued presence there at the plant.”

Asked whether the world should be concerned about the Zaporizhzhia plant, Grossi replied: “I did not need to come here to worry about the plant. I worried, I worry and I will continue to be worried about the plant until we have a situation that is more stable, that is more predictable.”

— Sam Meredith

Russia’s energy influence over Europe may be coming to an end

While the EU is on track to beat targets for filling gas storage facilities, analysts warn that this alone will not be enough.

Picture Alliance | Picture Alliance | Getty Images

Russia’s energy influence over Europe appears to be coming to an end, energy and political analysts say, potentially alleviating the risk of further supply disruptions.

Europe in recent months has endured a sharp drop in gas exports from Russia, traditionally its largest energy supplier.

A bitter gas dispute between Brussels and Moscow following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has exacerbated the risk of recession and a winter gas shortage. What’s more, many fear Russia could soon turn off the taps completely. Russia denies using energy as a weapon.

Asked whether Russia’s energy influence over Europe may be coming to an end, Agathe Demarais, global forecasting director at The Economist Intelligence Unit, told CNBC, “Yes. Actually, very much so.”

“Europe is heading towards a very difficult winter, probably two years of a very difficult adjustment with a lot of economic pain. But then Europe is essentially going to become more independent with a more diversified mix,” Demarais said.

“And what that means is that Russia’s energy weapon is going to become moot,” she added.

Read the full story here.

— Sam Meredith

Oil rises as G-7 finance chiefs reportedly set to advance Russian oil price cap plan

More than 7 million Ukrainians have become refugees from Russia’s war

6 years-old twins Artur (L) and Dawid from Odessa are seen waiting at the railway station in Przemysl, southeastern Poland, on April 6, 2022.

Wojtek Radwanski | AFP | Getty Images

More 7 million Ukrainians have become refugees and moved to neighboring countries since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, the U.N. Refugee Agency estimates.

Nearly 4 million of those people have applied for temporary resident status in neighboring Western countries, according to data collected by the agency.

“The escalation of conflict in Ukraine has caused civilian casualties and destruction of civilian infrastructure, forcing people to flee their homes seeking safety, protection and assistance,” the U.N. Refugee Agency wrote.

— Amanda Macias

Zelenskyy said that journalists were barred from touring Zaporizhzhia plant with IAEA inspectors

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy shakes hands with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi, who is to head a planned mission to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine August 30, 2022.

Ukrainian Presidential Press Service | via Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a nightly address that both Ukrainian and international journalists were not allowed to tour the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant with IAEA representatives.

“Today, the IAEA mission arrived at Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. It is good that it happened, the fact itself, despite all the provocations of the Russian military and the cynical shelling of Enerhodar and the territory of the station,” said in an update on the Telegram messaging app, according to an NBC News translation.

Zelenskyy added that the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, promised him that independent journalists would accompany the inspectors.

“Unfortunately, IAEA representatives did not protect representatives of independent media,” Zelenskyy added.

— Amanda Macias

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