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Russia Sells 2% More Gas to Germany, Slovakia in 2018

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Russian gas flows into Germany and Slovakia combined rose by 2% in 2018 year to year after December flows came in at their second-highest level for a calendar month, data from S&P Global Platts Analytics showed.

Total supply through the Nord Stream, Yamal, and Brotherhood pipelines stood at 132.5 Bcm for 2018, up 2% on an annual basis and a solid 12% higher than in 2016, the data showed.

Flows through these three transit routes stood at 11.89 Bcm during December 2018, beaten only by the 12 Bcm during April last year, as Yamal flows hit a record high and Brotherhood flows reaching a five-month high.

Flows from Novatek’s Yamal LNG stood at 2.84 Bcm during the final month of last year, the highest recorded for a calendar month.

Last year marked the first time since 2015 that flows via the Brotherhood pipeline did not account for the largest share of Russian gas exports, as the twin-pipeline Nord Stream system — which takes Russian gas directly into northeast Germany — moved the most gas from the East.

Nord Stream flows during last year came in above the 55 Bcm/year nameplate capacity at 55.48 Bcm, which included a 13-day maintenance period in late July where flows were close to zero. Brotherhood transit via Ukraine stood at 46.4 Bcm last year, a decrease of 9% from 2017, and the first annual fall in flows since 2014.

Russian state-owned giant Gazprom has been seeking to move gas into Europe around Ukraine, and the 55 Bcm/year Nord Stream 2 pipeline is expected to become operational in early 2020, further boosting gas flow capacity into Germany as a result.

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Erdogan says he will not declare ceasefire in northern Syria

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made it clear to U.S. President Donald Trump that Turkey will never declare a ceasefire in northern Syria and will not negotiate with Kurdish forces it is fighting in its offensive into the region.

Turkey forged ahead with its offensive against the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia in northern Syria on Tuesday despite U.S. sanctions and calls for it to stop, while Syria’s Russia-backed army moved on the key city of Manbij that was abandoned by U.S. forces.

The YPG, the key component of the forces who fought Islamic State, is seen by Ankara as a terrorist group linked to Kurdish separatist insurgents in Turkey.

On Monday, Trump announced sanctions on Turkey to punish it for the offensive. On Tuesday, a senior U.S. official said Washington would threaten more sanctions to persuade Turkey to reach a ceasefire and halt its offensive.

However, speaking to reporters on a flight back from Baku, Erdogan said the offensive would continue until it reaches its aims, and added that he was not worried about sanctions.

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Woman killed in Russian apartment building blast

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A woman died and other young woman sustained injuries when a five-story building partially collapsed following an explosion in Russian village of Novonezhino.

Around 17 apartments were damaged when the ceiling slab, wall and the stair case of the building collapsed, Emergency Department said.

“The people were evacuated, 17 apartments were damaged. Seven elders have been transferred to temporary accommodation center,” the authorities said.

Rescue crews were searching for people who are believed to be trapped under the rubble. Rescuers were assisting the residents save their pets and belongings from the damaged apartments.

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Greek Church recognizes autonomy of Orthodox Church of Ukraine

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The leading figures of the Church of Greece decided at a meeting this weekend to recognize the autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), making it the first of the Eastern Orthodox churches to take such a step.

The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece recognized the autonomy of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine in line with a request by the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios

The Orthodox Times says the Greeks’ formal recognition will take place October 19 in Thessaloniki, with Archbishop Ieronymos and the OCU’s Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv and All Ukraine present.

The Patriarchate of Constantinople, generally considered the spiritual headquarters for Orthodoxy, granted the Orthodox Church of Ukraine independence in January in a move that was adamantly resisted by Moscow and the Russian Orthodox Church. The new Orthodox Church of Ukraine installed its first metropolitan, Epifaniy, at a ceremony in Kyiv on February 3 in a process that further established the new church body’s independence

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