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Moscow, facing fierce resistance and crippling sanctions, threatened to stop the flow of gas through pipelines from Russia to Europe.

On Monday it said it could halt the flow of natural gas through existing pipelines from Russia to Germany in response to Berlin’s decision last month to halt the new Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

“We have every right to take a matching decision and impose an embargo on gas pumping through the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline,” Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said.

Oil giant Shell became the latest Western company to halt operations in the country, announcing Tuesday that it would stop buying Russian oil and gas in addition to closing all of its service stations across the country.

The company’s CEO, Ben van Beurden, apologized for buying Russian crude oil last week and committed to dedicating profits from remaining amounts it has to a fund. 

As Russia’s isolation has grown since the war began nearly two weeks ago, the Kremlin has warned against the West’s involvement. But Zelenskyy has urged greater military aid and more punishing measures against Moscow.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, thus far thwarted in his apparent bid to replace Zelenskyy’s Western-leaning government with a regime friendlier to the Kremlin, has intensified his assault on Ukraine and his crackdown on dissent at home.

Ukraine’s leader accused Russian forces of turning cities across his country “into hell.”

In the country’s south, a further attempt to secure a humanitarian corridor from the encircled port city of Mariupol appeared to have failed once again.

The city is facing an extreme humanitarian crisis, and several attempts at evacuations over the weekend ended when Ukrainian authorities accused Russian forces of continuing to shell the area.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs accused Russia on Tuesday of doing so again and violating a cease-fire agreement by shelling the humanitarian corridor where eight trucks and 30 buses were ready to deliver aid and evacuate residents.

Mariupol was “surrounded, blocked and especially depleted,” Zelenskyy said in a speech posted to Telegram Tuesday. “The occupiers deliberately cut off communications and blocked the supply of food, cut off electricity.”

The lack of drinking water in the city resulted in the death of a child from dehydration on Monday, he said.

Continued Russian attacks have halted repairs to damaged infrastructure, including groundwater pumps and water treatment facilities, and left people drinking rainwater and collecting snow, according to Human Rights Watch.

The World Health Organization warned Tuesday in a press conference that there Ukraine was facing several parallel health emergencies, including the invasion and the Covid-19 pandemic. Medical supplies, and oxygen in particular, were badly needed in the country.

More than 400 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since the invasion began, according to the U.N. human rights agency. The exact figures are likely to be much higher, it added.

Rachel Elbaum is a London-based editor, producer and writer. 

Reuters

,

Anastasiia Parafeniuk

,

Associated Press

,

Mariia Ulianovska

and

Chantal Da Silva

contributed

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