Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has told Europeans that they should prepare for a difficult winter as Moscow’s invasion of his country leads to major reductions in oil and gas supplies from Russia.
“Russia is preparing a decisive energy blow on all Europeans for this winter,” Zelenskiy said in his late-night video address on September 3.
“Russia is trying these days to increase the energy pressure on Europe even more: The pumping of gas through Nord Stream has been completely stopped.”
“Russia wants to destroy the normal life of every European — in all countries of our continent,” he added.
The comments come as Russia continues to hold up supplies of gas on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline under the Baltic Sea to Germany, citing technical issues.
German officials and Siemens Energy, which services turbines on Nord Stream 1, dispute Moscow’s claims, saying the pipeline is in operational condition.
The stoppage has fueled fears that Russia will keep the pipeline offline for a longer period to put pressure on Western nations and break their unity in sanctioning Russia for its war against Ukraine.
Moscow has repeatedly denied it uses energy supplies as a weapon.
Western nations have discussed setting a price cap on the prices paid for Russian energy supplies. Moscow has said it would stop selling such products to any country implementing a cap.
Separately, Zelenskiy said on September 4 that he had called on the European Union to speed up the allocation of the next tranche of aid to Ukraine and urged the bloc to implement further sanctions on Moscow during a phone conversation with European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen.
“[I] emphasized the need to prepare the 8th package of [Western] sanctions [on Russia], including a ban on issuing visas to Russian citizens,” he wrote.
He said he also coordinated with Von der Leyen “steps to limit Russia’s excess profits from the sale of oil and gas.”
Ukrainian officials have said they are expecting a tranche of about $5 billion in financial assistance from the EU in the next few days.