UN chastises attack on Libya’s parliament building
A senior UN official for Libya on Saturday condemned the storming of the parliament’s headquarters by angry demonstrators as part of protests in several cities against the political class and deteriorating economic conditions. Hundreds of protesters marched in the streets of the capital, Tripoli, and other Libyan cities on Friday, with many attacking and setting fire to government buildings, including the House of Representatives in the eastern city of Tobruk. “The people’s right to peacefully protest should be respected and protected but riots and acts of vandalism such as the storming of the House of Representatives headquarters late yesterday in Tobruk are totally unacceptable,” said Stephanie Williams, the UN special adviser on Libya, on Twitter. Friday’s protests came a day after the leaders of the parliament and another legislative chamber based in Tripoli failed to reach an agreement on elections during UN-mediated talks in Geneva. Sabadell Jose, the European Union envoy in Libya, called on protesters to “avoid any type of violence”. He said Friday’s demonstrations showed that people want “change through elections and their voices should be heard”.
Libyan supply disruptions drive up oil prices
The disruptions to crude oil production in Libya have pushed prices higher despite the increase in production from OPEC+ and fears of a slowdown in global demand due to the recession. On Friday, the first trading day of July, Brent rose 2.38% to close at $ 111.6 a barrel while WTI rose 2.52% to $ 108.4. On Thursday, the Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC) declared a state of force majeure in the ports of Es Sider and Ras Lanuf and in the El Feel oil field. The force majeure is still in force in the ports of Brega and Zueitina, highlighted Noc. Production saw a sharp decline, with daily exports ranging between 365,000 and 409,000 barrels per day, a decrease of 865,000 barrels per day compared to production under “normal circumstances”, Noc continued. Noc has declared a state of force majeure, as reported by The Libya Observer, in the various production sites after the 72-hour ultimatum that the company had given to the occupants of the production plants expired. Following the closures, the country will lose over 16 billion Libyan dinars (over €3 billion). The ports of Brega and Zueitina are occupied by Haftar’s men and the Bashagha government refuses to reopen the fields. This situation is causing a lot of inconvenience among the population due to electricity outages in the coastal area of the country, as the situation has stopped the flow of natural gas that feeds the power plants of Zuetina, North Benghazi and Sarir. In addition to Libya, among the causes of the rise in prices must be added the strike by workers in the oil & gas sector in Norway which will start Tuesday and, according to Reuters’ calculations, could reduce the country’s overall oil production by about 8% (about 320,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day) unless a last minute agreement is reached on wage demands. Then, there is the third factor that concerns Ecuador where the government and the leaders of indigenous groups seem to have reached an agreement to put an end to the protests which lasted more than two weeks and which led to the stop of about 250,000 barrels a day.
European flights canceled, delayed amid ongoing strikes
Hundreds of flights from various European airports were canceled or delayed on Saturday as the industry struggles with ongoing worker strikes. Labour action by cabin crews at the two low-cost airlines EasyJet and Ryanair as well as by airport workers in Europe’s second-busiest airport – Roissy-Charles de Gaulle in Paris – are causing major headaches for airlines just as the first school summer holidays begin after two years of pandemic restrictions. One in five flights from the main Paris airport were cancelled on Saturday morning, while the EasyJet and Ryanair strike led to the cancellation of 15 flights to and from Spain with another 175 delayed. Ryanair’s cabin crew also announced another 12 days of work stoppages. Paris airport workers said they would walk out again from July 8 to 10. The striking cabin crews are demanding improvements in their working conditions and pay to put them in line with other European airlines. The industry slashed thousands of jobs during the pandemic when people were unable or unwilling to fly, but they have been unable to refill positions as the new post-restrictions demand has soared. Airports in the UK and the Netherlands struggled to deal with the surge in traffic earlier in the year, while France was largely spared. Pilots for the Scandinavian SAS airline delayed a planned strike on Saturday after negotiations with company management showed some progress. If the 900 pilots go ahead with their strike, hundreds of flights per day will likely be cancelled.
Belarus intercepted attempted Ukraine missile strikes – Lukashenko
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Saturday Ukraine had tried to strike military facilities on Belarusian territory three days ago, but all its missiles had been intercepted, the state-run Belta news agency reported. Lukashenko, who did not provide evidence for the claim, said Belarus did not want war with Ukraine, but would fight if its own territory was invaded. The Ukrainian military did not immediately comment. Lukashenko said there were no troops from Belarus fighting in what Moscow calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine. Belarus is a close ally of Russia and allowed Moscow to use Belarusian territory to send troops into Ukraine on February 24.
Separatists say key city of Lysychansk encircled
Russia-backed separatists say they have “completely” encircled the key city of Lysychansk in the eastern Luhansk region. “Today, the Luhansk popular militia and Russian forces occupied the last strategic heights, which allows us to confirm that Lysychansk is completely encircled,” Andrei Marotchko, a spokesman for the separatist forces, told the TASS news agency. Ukraine’s army denied the claims, saying that fighting was still raging in the city. “Fighting rages around Lysychansk. (But) luckily the city has not been encircled and is under control of the Ukrainian army,” Ruslan Muzytchuk, a spokesman for the Ukrainian National Guard, said on Ukrainian television. The regional governor also said Russians have been shelling the city from different directions. The capture of Lysychansky would allow the Russians to push deeper into the eastern Donbas, which has become the focus of their offensive since failing to capture Kyiv earlier in the invasion. Russian forces took control of the neighboring city Severodonetsk, which lies across the Donets River, last week.
Russian forces destroy Ukrainian military sites
Five Ukrainian army command posts in the eastern Donbas and the southern Mykolaiv region have been destroyed by Russian troops using high-precision weapons, the Russian Defence Ministry was quoted as saying. Russian forces also struck three storage sites in the Zaporizhzhia region to the northeast of Mykolaiv, the ministry said in remarks carried by Russian news agencies. It also said the Russian air force had struck a Ukrainian weapons and equipment base at a tractor factory in Kharkiv in northeast Ukraine.
‘Reconstruction of Ukraine is the largest project in Europe’
The reconstruction of Ukraine should become the largest economic project in Europe, President Zelensky said on Saturday. Ukraine’s vision for post-conflict reconstruction and the creation of new foundations for life in the country will be presented next week at a conference in Switzerland. “We are actively preparing for the start of a special conference in Switzerland, which begins on Monday,” he said. “It is a major international event dedicated to the reconstruction of our country in the broadest sense of the word. We must not just restore everything that the occupiers have destroyed, but create a new basis for our life, for Ukraine – safe, modern, affordable, barrier-free. This requires colossal investments – billions, new technologies, best practices, new institutions and, of course, reforms,” Zelensky stressed. Russian missiles and air strikes continue to hit Ukrainian cities; and, as Zelensky said in his speech, “fierce fighting continues along the entire front line in Donbass”, the eastern part of the country’s main target of the Russian offensive.