UKRAINE: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has told Europeans to prep themselves up for a tough winter as Russia’s attack on his country will lead to curbs on oil and gas exports from Moscow.
Zelensky said this on Saturday evening after Moscow shut down the main gas pipeline that supplies Russian gas to the continent.
“Russia is preparing a decisive energy blow to all Europeans this winter,” he said in his daily video address.
Moscow cited Western sanctions imposed over its invasion of Ukraine and technical problems over power cuts. European countries that have backed the Kyiv government with diplomatic and military support have accused Russia of weaponizing energy supplies.
Some analysts say shortages and a rise in the cost of living as winter approaches risk eroding Western support for Kyiv as governments struggle to deal with disgruntled populations.
Last week, Moscow said it would keep the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, its main gas channel to Germany, closed, and the G7 countries announced a planned price cap on Russian oil exports.
The Kremlin has said it will stop selling oil to any country that imposes a cap. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Sunday that his government planned to cut off gas supplies completely in December, but vowed that his country would last through the winter. “Russia is no longer a reliable energy partner,” Scholz said at a press conference in Berlin.
The Russian-occupied Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine has again lost external power, UN inspectors said on Saturday.
The factory was seized by Russian troops shortly after President Vladimir Putin sent his army across the border on February 24 and became the focus of the conflict.
Each side accuses the other of shelling nearby, raising fears that a nuclear disaster could occur. An official from the Russian-installed administration in Zaporizhia said that the situation around the power plant was calm so far on Sunday.
In an interview with Komsomolskaya Pravda radio, official Vladimir Rogov said there had been no shelling or incursions. Russia has twice accused Ukraine of trying to seize the plant in the past two days. Ukraine said Russia attacked the area itself.
IAEA experts are expected to continue working at the plant until at least Monday, Rogov said. The IAEA mission visited the plant, which is still operated by Ukrainian personnel, last week and some experts remained there pending the release of the IAEA report.
The power plant said in a statement on Saturday that the fifth reactor had been shut down “due to continuous shelling by the Russian occupation forces” and that there was “insufficient capacity to operate two reactors” from the last reserve line.
Zelensky blames Russian shelling for the outage On August 25, the first Zaporizhzhia was cut off from the national grid, narrowly avoiding a radiation leak. This shutdown led to power outages across Ukraine.
Ukraine and the West accuse Russia of stockpiling heavy weapons at the site to deter Ukraine from opening fire. Russia, which denies having any such weapons there, has resisted international calls to redeploy troops and demilitarize the area.
On other battlefronts, Ukrainian Telegram channels reported explosions on the Antonio bridge near the southern city of Kherson, which is occupied by Russian forces.
The bridge has been severely damaged by Ukrainian rockets in recent weeks, but Russian troops have been trying to repair it or set up a pontoon crossing or boats to keep supplies to Russian troops on the right bank of the Dnieper River.
Ukraine launched a counter-offensive last week targeting the south, the areas which the Russians seized at the start of the conflict.