Russia aiming to ‘destroy normal life’ in Europe after pipeline closure, says Zelensky

·2-min read
Boris Johnson has formed a close bond with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky (Andrew Kravechenko/AP) (AP)
Boris Johnson has formed a close bond with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky (Andrew Kravechenko/AP) (AP)

Volodymyr Zelensky has warned Russia is aiming to “destroy the normal life of every European”, during a speech on Saturday night.

Speaking after Moscow shut down a main pipeline supplying Russian gas to the continent, the Ukrainian president accused the Kremlin of “preparing for a decisive energy attack” on Europe and called for stricter sanctions on Russia.

In his daily video address, he said: “Russia is trying to increase the energy pressure on Europe even more. Gas pumping through the Nord Stream pipeline has completely stopped.

“Why do they do this? Russia wants to destroy the normal life of every European – in all countries of our continent. It wants to weaken and intimidate the entire Europe, every state.

“Where Russia cannot do it by force of conventional weapons, it does so by force of energy weapons. It is trying to attack with poverty and political chaos where it cannot yet attack with missiles.

“Russia is preparing for a decisive energy attack on all Europeans.”

Last week, Moscow said it would keep the Nord Stream 1 pipeline - its main gas channel to Germany - closed.

Moscow denies the energy disruptions are a political move, instead citing technical issues, and Western sanctions imposed over its invasion of Ukraine as reasons.

But European allies of Ukraine have accused Russia of weaponising energy supplies.

G7 countries - the UK, US, Canada, Japan, German, Italy and France - announced a planned price cap on Russian oil exports.

The Kremlin said it would stop selling oil to any countries that implemented the cap.

During his briefing on Saturday, President Zelensky called for “unity” among European countries, and for increased pressure on Russia in the form of sanctions and limiting Moscow’s oil and gas revenues.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Sunday his government had been planning for a total halt in gas deliveries in December but he promised that his country would make it through the winter.

“Russia is no longer a reliable energy partner,” Scholz told a news conference in Berlin.