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Ukraine: Russia Captures Half of Severodonetsk, EU Compromises to Ban Some Russian Oil Imports

Ukraine: Russia Captures Half of Severodonetsk, EU Compromises to Ban Some Russian Oil Imports

Hungary is exempt from EU’s plan to block Russian pipeline oil.

Day 97.

Now that Russia has Mariupol we turn our attention to Severodonetsk. The Russians moved closer to the city’s center, splitting the city in half.

Russia Will Give Ukraine the Bodies at Mariupol Steel Plant

Russia will hand over the bodies it has kept in fridge units at the Azovstal steel plant:

Russia has said bodies found “inside a cooling unit” in tunnels underneath the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol will be handed over to Ukraine.

Russia’s defence ministry said its troops found “152 bodies of dead militants and servicemen of Ukraine’s armed forces” at the steelworks – adding that “four mines” were found underneath the bodies, the AFP news agency reports.

Russian forces took control of the port city in April, but thousands of Ukrainian defenders remained at the steel plant, protecting Ukraine’s last foothold in Mariupol.

They finally surrended earlier this month and have been taken to Russian-occupied territory, where they remain. Russia has indicated that they will be put on trial.

Embargo Hikes Up Oil Prices

New highs for oil prices:

Brent crude rose above $123 a barrel on Tuesday, the highest it’s been for two months.

Prices for oil and gas have soared in recent months, fuelled – in part – by the Ukraine war. Brent crude has risen more than 70% over the past year.

Russia currently supplies 27% of the EU’s imported oil and 40% of its gas, and oil prices climbed again on news of the latest EU embargo.

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said prices were rising because European countries now need to find alternative sources of supply.

Meanwhile, the rising cost of living threatens to curtail some EU countries’ appetite for further sanctions which could also hurt their own economies.

EU Compromise Does Not Include Gas

The EU wants to block Russian pipeline oil. The embargo does not include Russian gas. The bloc would face resistance from Austria if it decides to go after the gas:

The European Union would not discuss a gas embargo as part of a next round of sanctions against Russia for waging a war against Ukraine, Austria’s Chancellor Karl Nehammer has said.

“The gas embargo will not be a topic, (German Chancellor) Olaf Scholz has made this clear as well,” he told reporters on a second day of talks at a summit in Brussels of the 27 national EU leaders.

“Russian oil is much easier to compensate … gas is completely different, which is why a gas embargo will not be an issue in the next sanctions package,” he added after the leaders agreed to cut most Russian oil imports to the bloc.

EU Agrees to “Block Most Russian Oil Imports by the End of 2022”

Except for pipeline oil because Hungary opposed it:

The EU-wide ban will affect oil that arrives by sea – around two-thirds of imports – but not pipeline oil, following opposition from Hungary.

Poland and Germany have also pledged to end pipeline imports, meaning a total of 90% of Russian oil will be blocked.

European Council chief Charles Michel said the deal cut off a huge source of financing for the Russian war machine.

It is part of a sixth package of sanctions approved at a summit in Brussels, which all 27 member states have had to agree on.

Russia currently supplies 27% of the EU’s imported oil and 40% of its gas. The EU pays Russia around €400bn ($430bn, £341bn) a year in return.

Hungary Exempt From EU Ban on Russian Oik

Hungary depends a lot on Russian energy sources. Prime Minister Viktor Orban is also close to Putin.

The EU managed to get an almost complete ban on Russian oil:

After weeks of negotiations between EU and Budapest, bloc leaders late Monday struck a compromise deal that banned Russian oil imports delivered by tankers, but left in place those received via pipelines – which is how landlocked Hungary gets the Russian crude key to its economy.

“Families can sleep peacefully tonight, we kept out the most hair-raising idea,” Mr Orban said in a video message posted on his Facebook page.

“We have reached an agreement that states that countries that receive oil through pipelines can continue to operate their economies under the previous conditions,” he said.

Mr Orban had threatened to veto the deal and warned that halting supplies would wreck his country’s economy.

A blanket import ban “would have been unbearable for us…like an atomic bomb, but we managed to avoid this,” said Mr Orban.

Severodonetsk

Russia captured half of Severodonetsk as the soldiers move closer to the city center. If Russia takes over the entire city then it won’t have much more territory to grab to control the entire Luhansk region:

Russian troops have taken control of half of the city of Severodonetsk, the city’s mayor Oleksandr Striuk has said.

“Half of the city has been captured by the Russians and fierce street fighting is under way,” Mr Striuk said. “The situation is very serious and the city is essentially being destroyed ruthlessly block by block.”

As Kremlin forces advance towards to city centre, Sergiy Gaidai, the governor of Luhansk region, told Ukrainian state television that there were some 15,000 civilians left in Severodonetsk, as most of the city’s 120,000 people had fled the brutal bombardment by Russian artillery.

Preparing for the worst, Mr Gadai said Ukrainian troops defending the city could retreat across the Siverskyi Donets river to the city of Lysychansk to escape encirclement.

Russia has been seeking to seize the entire Donbas, consisting of Luhansk and Donetsk which Moscow claims on behalf of separatist proxies.

Capturing the twin cities of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk would give Moscow effective control of Luhansk and allow the Kremlin to declare some form of victory after more than three months of war.

Unfortunately, Ukraine cannot evacuate Severodonetsk civilians right now due to the fighting.

It’s taken Russia a lot longer to take Severodonetsk than officials thought but it looks like it will happen.

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Comments

Free State Paul | May 31, 2022 at 11:13 am

“It’s taken Russia a lot longer to take Severodonetsk than officials thought but it looks like it will happen.”

War is like remodeling your kitchen. It usually takes longer and costs more than you initially thought.

    Olinser in reply to Free State Paul. | May 31, 2022 at 11:41 am

    Modern idiots who have never studied military history think that a winning war looks like what the US did to Iraq (twice). That wasn’t a war, that was a superpower against a minimally (and sometimes, NOT AT ALL) trained collection of idiots with barely functional weapons that happened to call themselves a military. Utterly crushing the entire military in a few weeks with minimal casualties was unheard of in modern warfare.

    For an actual war between actual trained and equipped militaries, Russia is winning an absolutely crushing victory, despite all the BS Ukraine propaganda. In 90 days they’ve captured and secured a quite large amount of territory, and despite all the propaganda of destroyed tanks, appear to have not lost a particularly large amount of ground troops to do it (relative to their military size). Ukraine CANNOT, and WILL NOT, win a military conflict. Russia isn’t even going all out – they are intentionally NOT destroying roads and critical infrastructure throughout Ukraine, or scorched earth bombing/shelling, because they’re winning without it.

    I said from the start, Ukraine is NOT winning, and all the idiotic propaganda is doing is forcing Putin to continue fighting, because he WILL NOT accept any outcome that isn’t a clear Russian victory, because losing wars is how dictators get deposed in coups and shot against walls.

    At this point the only question is how much Ukraine is willing to lose before they finally negotiate for peace. NATO and the US are clearly not going to send actual military support, instead just sending more corrupt graft payments that get funneled back to corrupt politician’s pockets.

      thad_the_man in reply to Olinser. | May 31, 2022 at 11:56 am

      In WWI many people were saying there would be another war in 20 years.

      Russia is not going to settle for a peace that will last five-ten years. The more the Ukraine, EU and US is intransigent the more Russia will take to ensure permanent peace.

        geronl in reply to thad_the_man. | May 31, 2022 at 5:15 pm

        Russia doesn’t want peace

          CommoChief in reply to geronl. | May 31, 2022 at 6:01 pm

          Sure they do but they want it on their terms. Why is Russia in Ukraine? They view NATO eastward expansion as a threat. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks or even if it’s true. As long as the Russians believe it and act to prevent it or mitigate it everyone else’s opinion doesn’t matter.

          What are our foreign policy establishment genius ideas? More expansion of NATO along Russia’s border which is how we got here.

      Peabody in reply to Olinser. | May 31, 2022 at 12:04 pm

      It’s too soon to start writing a book called “The history of the Ukraine War”.

      chrisboltssr in reply to Olinser. | May 31, 2022 at 12:18 pm

      Indeed. It’s like all these war experts in the West came up with their own timelines as to quickly Russia would defeat Ukraine and, when Russia didn’t meet those timeliness, that somehow means Russia is losing the war.

      I asked others on Red State if Russia themselves said they were going to take Ukraine in such short time and someone replied that there were no reports. So Russia didn’t say they were going to win the war in three days but somehow because they didn’t wrap it up in three days that means they’re losing? The illogic is insane.

      If destroying infrastructure, taking good portions of your country, killing civilians and soldiers without discrimination and still being able to sell your prime resource on the open market is “losing” then Russia is losing.

        geronl in reply to chrisboltssr. | May 31, 2022 at 5:16 pm

        The dress uniforms in the tanks destroyed near Kyiv was taken as an indication they thought they’d be parading down main street within days

          chrisboltssr in reply to geronl. | June 1, 2022 at 12:35 am

          How soldiers act and how the military brass and leaders of a country act are two different things. Please present the evidence that Putin or his military advisors planned to complete this war in three days or a week.

      taurus the judge in reply to Olinser. | May 31, 2022 at 2:38 pm

      Been saying this from day 1

      Where is my favorite no combat expert REMF Diaper these days?

        AnAdultInDiapers in reply to taurus the judge. | May 31, 2022 at 3:10 pm

        Let me know your address, I’ll get a case shipped over to you.

        By the way, what do you think those REMFs do, apart from gather and assess intelligence, plan operations, manage logistics, choose where to deploy resources and deal with all the complaints from the clowns up front that wouldn’t know how to wipe their own bottoms without six weeks of basic training?

        Face it, I’ve been under intensive Russian artillery fire for as many seconds as you, and you still haven’t explained why you feel so much better informed and able to assess the situation than me.

        You certainly haven’t shown it. I’m still waiting for your insight into why Putin’s so in control of his army that he’s lost a third of his invasion force, why he’s lost so much of his officer corps, why Russia are deploying T-62 tanks on the front line and why driving to Kiev to lose so much armour was a winning move.

        Clearly I’m a fool for failing to understand this winning strategy that’s about to cause Ukraine to collapse and accept the genocidal invading rapists.

          taurus the judge in reply to AnAdultInDiapers. | May 31, 2022 at 3:51 pm

          See Diaper, I actually KNOW what those REMF’s do because I was one in operations in the field sending them the info then later working from that end. I have done much O- Planning up to and including OEF/OIF. At that level, all wars are basically the same- just different mixtures.

          That’s why I can spot REMF’s with no knowledge or experience like yourself immediately.

          I have answered your questions accurately and timely- you either didn’t understand or chose to ignore the answers. I’m curious and calling you out- what part do you feel I didn’t explain or was shown wrong on? (be specific)

          Your smart assed excuse is meaningless also. True I have not been under “Russian” artillery fire but I HAVE been under direct and indirect fire numerous times- who was on the other end doesn’t really matter. You have never left the safety of your couch. THATS the difference because once you see the reality of war in all its areas- you realize its basically the same all over.

          I do not dispute your claim of being a fool- I vigorously endorse it.

          CommoChief in reply to AnAdultInDiapers. | May 31, 2022 at 6:13 pm

          ‘Clowns’ Ok sure, some infantry and tankers are not intellectual giants. Many however have college degrees and also a willingness to serve. So let’s not denigrate them or their service, especially around Memorial Day.

          The fact is the Russians are wearing the Ukrainians down in manpower, war fighting material and morale. The Ukrainians have slightly over performed IMO but pluck and grit only go so far without the weapons and ammunition and organization to sustain it.

          AnAdultInDiapers in reply to AnAdultInDiapers. | May 31, 2022 at 7:16 pm

          @taurus

          Sigh. Yes, I have been under indirect fire. I’ve also survived terror attacks.

          I did however miss your answers to my questions. I entirely failed to see your explanation for why throwing away a third of the invasion force was such a great idea. I haven’t heard your wisdom regarding the need for this constantly winning army to dig out 50 year old tanks and deploy them on the front line. I must’ve skipped right past your description of why horrific losses at all commissioned ranks in the Russian forces don’t matter.

          Is that specific enough?

          As for being wrong.. well, you keep telling us Russia is winning. The evidence really just does not support you. Russia has not met its original goals for the war, it hasn’t met its revised goals for the war and it’s not succeeding in achieving what is now being frantically sought as a way for Putin to escape this situation alive.

          In short, they failed to take Kiev, they failed to take Odessa, they’re failing to hold Kherson, they failed to take Kharkiv, they failed to take even Sumy, and they’re currently losing men and material failing to take the Donbas region.

          You say they’re winning, I just see a lot of failure. Russian failure, all over Ukraine. In small pieces.

So far most of the reporting on the war has been smoke and mirrors.

The republic is dead…
We couldn’t keep it.
Posted by: gourmand du jour at May 31, 2022 12:15 PM (jTmQV)

Does LI back Biden’s crackdown on American energy and agree higher prices, inflation etc have been great?

Put up or shut up, if not wanting the destruction of Hungary’s economy makes Orban a Putin ally (he isn’t one) that means we are Putin allies for not wanting the same in our country.

There is a major cognitive dissonance in the way some at LI demand Europe slice the head of its economy and suffer while at the same time declaring Biden is horrible for doing that to us.

Knock it off, Hungary isn’t planning on suicide not should it be, nor should Austria or Germany.

It is easy to demand other economies join us in inflation and record prices at the pump, I will believe that is a good thing when I hear support for exactly that for this country.

I can not think of any example of a way Austria or Hungary could support the suicide of their economies without those nations being run by narcissistic psychopaths.

    thad_the_man in reply to Danny. | May 31, 2022 at 1:00 pm

    Since when did LI editors become such EU fanboys?

      Danny in reply to thad_the_man. | May 31, 2022 at 1:08 pm

      Good point I remember how LI covered Brexit.

      Dathurtz in reply to thad_the_man. | May 31, 2022 at 6:26 pm

      They aren’t EU fanboys, but are so anti-Putin it colors judgment. I get it, Putin seems like a dude I wouldn’t wanna be on the wrong side of. That doesn’t make me wanna jump in bed with his other enemies, though I get people doing the “enemy of my enemy” thing.

    audax in reply to Danny. | June 1, 2022 at 6:07 am

    As I wrote earlie:

    “…Hungary, which relies heavily on Russian oil, is the main opponent of a ban in imports…Hungary is an obstacle but Slovakia and the Czech Republic. both landlocked countries, need “loner phase-out periods.” They rely on Russia oil too much to simply turn it off.”

    The Company they are talking about, MOL Group, had 21% of it’s stock owned by the Hungarian Government. Stock they bought to take it out of the hands of the Russian Company, Surgutneftgas in May 2011.

    Upstream, MOL Group has oil production and extraction in 13 countries with production activities in 8, only one of which is Russia. This Russian connection bothers them a lot, I know because my Brother-In-Law is on the Supervisory Board of Directors at MOL.

    MOL Group is probably the largest oil and gas refiner in Central Europe and operates assets with a total of 20.9 mtpa (metric tons per annum) refining and 2.2 mtpa petrochemicals capacity. Its downstream asset base includes 6 production units: 4 refineries and 2 petrochemical sites, and an extended regional logistics and wholesales network as an integrated value chain.

    With over 2,000 service stations under six brands across ten countries in Central Eastern Europe: Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, Romania, Czech Republic, Poland, Serbia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. making them one of the largest retailers of gasoline and fuel products in Central Europe. They also own retail chains in Italy and Austria.

    MOL Group is also a large producer of plastic resins.

    MOL Group has been working since 2014 to get out of the Russian orbit as a strategic goal, MOL started investigating the solutions of diversifying its crude oil supply and to adapt its refineries to process non-Russian alternative crude oil, in order to reach greater flexibility. Until 2022 MOL invested more than USD 170 million on building up the alternative logistic solution on the Adria pipeline. This allows more seaborne deliveries to supply the Duna and Slovnaft refineries in Hungary and Slovakia. Due to the crude diversification efforts, Duna refinery can currently process about 35% of non-REB feedstock, mixed in with Urals crude. The war in Ukraine has accelerated this process of planning. MOL needs an investment-cycle of up to $700million and at least 2-4 years to be able to switch to 100% alternative crude processing.

Perhaps the EU should ask Biden why he stopped an Israeli pipeline that would have provided gas to Europe bypassing Russia but Biden probably has no idea he did that.

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