Ukraine Update: LNG From U.S. To Reach Ukraine


Ukraine needs liquefied natural gas (LNG). The country is in discussions with the U.S. on purchasing and financing supplies of LNG instead of pipeline gas, which the country currently receives from EU states, Naftogaz CEO Yuriy Vitrenko said on Tuesday.

Media reports said:

Kiev is currently buying reverse gas supplies that those countries resell, after buying from Russia.

The head of the Ukrainian company told Bloomberg TV: “We would need to import gas worth up to $8 billion for the next heating season. And that’s exactly what we were discussing here in the United States, some financing for the U.S. LNG that can replace pipeline gas that we have been traditionally buying in Europe.”

Vitrenko noted that Ukraine stopped direct purchases of Russian gas in 2015, increasing imports from its western neighbors instead. “But since we are lobbying for a full embargo on Russian gas, we believe that U.S. LNG is the best alternative that we are trying to buy at the moment,” he said.

The Naftogaz chief added: “In our case, U.S. LNG can cover all our needs for imports. But if we look at a wider European situation, it cannot replace realistically, in the short-term, supplies from Russia.”

According to Ukraine’s Gas Transmission Systems (GTS), natural gas consumption in the country last year amounted to 26.8 billion cubic meters. The figure was almost double domestic gas production, which totaled 13.67 billion cubic meters according to Naftogaz.

EU’s 3 Biggest Shipping Countries Have Doubled Russian Oil Shipments

Shipping companies in the EU’s three largest maritime nations of Greece, Cyprus, and Malta have doubled the quantity of Russian oil they transport since the invasion of Ukraine on February 24The Independent reported on Monday.

Shipping companies and vessels linked to the three countries moved an average of 58 million barrels of Russian oil in the month of May, the UK media outlet reported, citing an analysis from Global Witness, a non-government organization. That is almost double the 31 million barrels they collectively transported in February. The three countries have the largest shipping fleet in the EU, according to Reuters.

The jump in the transportation of Russian crude came on the back of a tripling in oil tanker freight rates since the invasion of Ukraine on February 24 — and it is undermining EU sanctions against Russia.

“Ships linked to Greece, Cyprus and Malta are making a mockery of the EU effort to sanction Putin’s war machine, keeping cash flowing to Russia as the country’s armed forces continue to pummel Ukraine,” Louis Goddard, a senior data investigations adviser at Global Witness, told The Independent.

The NGO’s report follows findings by London’s Sunday Times that Greek shipping companies are taking part in “ship-to-ship” transfers of Russian oil to mask the transportation of the fuel. Data reviewed by the Sunday Times pointed to an increase in such movements, which involves a Russian ship unloading oil to another vessel from a neutral party, the outlet reported on Sunday.

There is no suggestion that the companies and ships involved in transporting Russian oil are breaching sanctions, The Independent and Sunday Times reported.

Last Monday, the EU agreed on a Russian oil ban that stands to cut about 90% of Russian oil imports to the bloc by the end of the year. That was after the EU reportedly scrapped plans to stop EU-owned ships from transporting Russian oil to countries outside the region, such as China and India.

However, the EU and the UK are planning to deter the practice by not allowing ships carrying Russian oil to take out insurance — which is crucial for the shipping industry, the Financial Times reported last week.

Wheat Soars More Than 5% As A Poor U.S. Harvest And India’s Grain-for-fertilizer Swap Deal

Another media report said on June 6, 2022|:

Wheat prices jumped by the most in almost a month on Monday, after India and Egypt considered a deal to swap grain for fertilizer and as the U.S. government predicted a poor harvest that could put global supply under even more pressure.

Chicago wheat futures rose by as much as 5.4% to $10.95 per bushel, up from $10.45 at Friday’s close. It was last trading up 5% at $10.92 by 09:40 a.m. ET. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently forecast wheat would reach $10.75 per bushel due to tight supply.

The price of wheat has risen by 40% so far this year, down to a number of factors. The first is Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February. Both are major producers of wheat and the conflict has disrupted both exports of existing grain supplies as well as the planting of next year’s harvest, meaning any shortfalls won’t be limited to this year.

Another is adverse weather conditions, which is making for dismal harvests in the United States, as well as India, where heatwaves have devastated crops. According to the USDA, US wheat production is forecast to fall to 1.729 billion bushels this year, down 4% from the 5-year average of 1.806 billion bushels.

“For 2022/23, slightly larger production is projected compared to the previous year but this would still be the second lowest in the last 20 years based on pervasive drought in major hard red winter growing areas,” the USDA said in its May 2022 outlook.

A tightened global wheat supply was only exacerbated by India’s banning of grain exports to protect its own food security after a heatwave dramatically impacted domestic crop production. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine also caused a blockage of nearly 4.5 million tons of wheat at Ukraine ports adding to a grain shortage and surge in its prices.

Soaring wheat prices also come on the back of a potential wheat-for-fertilizer trade deal to ease mounting food supply shortages between India and Egypt. Under the terms of a potential agreement, India would export wheat to Egypt and would get fertilizer and other products in return, Egyptian Supply Minister Aly El-Moselhy told Bloomberg.

The trade deal would see 500,000 tons of wheat shipped to Egypt from India, which typically does not export much production, despite being one of the world’s biggest growers.

Other commodities from beef to palm oil have faced inflationary pressures as a result of export bans triggered by poor harvests and disruption from Russia’s war in Ukraine. Industry experts told Insider to brace for a potential impact in the corn market.

Ukraine To Ban War and Peace

Leo Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’ and other works that supposedly glorify the Russian military will no longer be taught in Ukrainian schools, Kiev’s ministry of education announced on Tuesday.

Tolstoy’s internationally recognized masterpiece joins other classic Russian books banned in Ukraine long before the current conflict.

“All these will be completely excluded from foreign literature,” first deputy Minister of education Andrey Vitrenko said in an interview with the TV channel Ukraine 24. “So, for example, ‘War and Peace,’ this will not be studied in Ukraine anymore.” 

The ministry is still working on the final list of works by Russian writers that will be excluded from the curriculum, Vitrenko added.

His comments follow last month’s announcement by Kiev’s Ministry of Culture and Information Policy that works of literature “promoting Russian propaganda” would be removed from Ukrainian libraries and replaced by Ukrainian books.

“Propaganda is a dangerous weapon. Russian lies are poisons all around today,” deputy minister Larisa Petasyuk said on Facebook at the time.

Tolstoy’s sprawling account of the Russian Empire during the Napoleonic wars was originally published in serialized form between 1865 and 1867. In an 1880 article in a French magazine, Russian novelist Ivan Turgenev called it “one of the most remarkable books of our age” and “the great work of a great writer” depicting a “true, real Russia.”

It has since been translated into numerous world languages and adapted for TV and the silver screen on more than one occasion – most recently in 2016.

Kiev has banned Russian works of art – and language instruction – long before the current conflict, however. In March 2019, the Ukrainian government prohibited some 40 works of art due to their mention of Russian businesses, artists, social networks, internet portals, the USSR or Soviet political figures. Among the works banned on that occasion was Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel ‘The Master and Margarita,’ which had also been censored in the USSR.

This Terrible War To End

A Journal & Courier report (Purdue economist addresses European Parliament on Russian war’s impact, June 6, 2022) said:

Maksym Chepeliev, a research economist in Purdue University’s College of Agriculture, recently addressed the European Parliament regarding energy sanctions and the potential economic impacts of the war in Ukraine.

Chepeliev initially focused his career on global trade and pathways to alternative energy, according to a release from Purdue. However, once Russia invaded his home country of Ukraine in February, his career focus changed.

“First, we want this terrible war to end, and Russian energy exports are a target for applying pressure,” Chepeliev said in the release. “But we must consider the economic impact across the world of energy sanctions and of continued war. This is where our research and that of others is needed to show steps that can be taken to protect economies and the people most vulnerable to disruptions.”

Chepeliev also co-authored, with colleagues from World Bank, a VoxEU article titled, “Agricultural and energy importers in the developing world are hit hardest by the Ukraine war’s economic fallout.”

He also previously contributed to a World Bank report titled “Braving the Storms,” wherein Chepeliev assessed potential impacts of war in Ukraine on nearby countries in East Asia and the Pacific region.

Chepeliev said: “We looked at trade, supply chains and incomes across the globe. While all consumers will be worse off because of the war, developing countries and the poorest people will be hit the hardest. It is very important to identify who is most vulnerable and to propose policies and steps that can be taken to protect them.”

In March of this year, Chepeliev also co-authored the paper, “Cutting Russia’s fossil fuel exports: Short-term pain for long-term gain,” with Purdue professors Thomas Hertel and Dominique van der Mensbrugghe.

Chepeliev’s contributions to a panel on the European Parliament ahead of the vote on a resolution to ban energy imports from Russia are also available on the podcast run by Luis Garicano, an economist and member of the European Parliament.

“There are economic mechanisms that can help smooth transitions like this and make them manageable,” Chepeliev said. “Through our research we showed potential steps that can be done to implement a ban on energy imports from Russia, while incorporating substitute suppliers and alternative energy sources to reduce the shock to the economy.”

This report originally appeared on Lafayette Journal & Courier: Purdue economist addresses European Parliament on Russian war’s impact



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