Ukraine’s President Zelensky accuses Russia of “preparing a decisive energy attack on all Europeans” this winter
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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russia of using energy as a weapon by keeping an important pipeline to Germany closed in recent days, exacerbating electricity and natural gas shortages ahead of the winter months.
“Russia wants to destroy the normal life of every European – in all the countries of our continent,” Zelensky said in his Saturday night speech.
“Where Russia cannot do it with the power of conventional weapons, it does so with the power of energy weapons. It tries to attack with poverty and political chaos where it cannot yet attack with missiles. This winter, Russia is preparing for a decisive energy attack on all Europeans.”
Russian energy company Gazprom has blamed technical problems for the shutdown of Nord Stream 1 this week, saying oil leaks in turbines must be fixed before natural gas flows can resume.
Germany’s Siemens Energy, which makes the turbines used by Nord Stream 1, rejected Gazprom’s explanation for the shutdown, saying the turbine’s leakage during gas flow could be fixed.
The Ukrainian Nuclear Agency warns of the dangers of hydrogen and radiation leakage as a result of the damage to the Zaporizhia plant
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine for high energy prices, but said Norway and the United States were supplying natural gas to energy-hungry European countries.
“We see that the electricity market is no longer working because it is severely affected by Putin’s manipulation,” von der Leyen said on Friday.
Parts of Ukraine were also recently cut off from power due to the fighting around the Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant, the largest in Europe.
The International Atomic Energy Agency said the plant was temporarily cut off from its last major external power line on Saturday.
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A 14-member delegation from the United Nations nuclear agency visited the besieged plant this week to assess the damage.
Russian forces took control of the facility in March, but the Ukrainian plant’s crew continued its operations.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.