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KYIV: Russia said it will cut gas supplies to Europe from Wednesday in a blow to countries that have supported Ukraine, just as there were hopes that economic pressures could ease after Russia agreed to let Ukraine export grain from Black Sea ports.

The first ships from Ukraine may set sail in days under a deal agreed on Friday, the United Nations said, despite a Russian missile attack on the Ukrainian port of Odesa over the weekend.

Soaring energy costs and the threat of hunger faced by millions in poorer nations show how the biggest conflict in Europe since World War Two, now in its sixth month, is having an impact far beyond Ukraine.

The Ukrainian military on Tuesday reported Russian cruise missile strikes in the south, and that Ukrainian forces had hit enemy targets. Russia’s defense ministry did not immediately reply to an out-of-hours request for comment.

President Vladimir Putin warned the West earlier this month that sanctions risked triggering huge global energy price rises. Russian energy giant Gazprom, citing instructions from an industry watchdog, on Monday said gas flows to Germany through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline would fall to 33 million cubic metres per day from Wednesday. That is half of the current flows, which are already only 40% of normal capacity.

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