Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday accused Russia of cutting off its gas exports in order to increase pressure on Europe amid the war in Ukraine.
The Russian state-run energy company Gazprom said on Friday that it had completely shut down the Nord Stream 1 pipeline while it repairs an oil leak. Nord Stream 1 is the largest pipeline transporting natural gas from Russia to Europe.
“These days, Russia is trying to increase the energy pressure on Europe even more,” Zelensky said in an address to his country. “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,” he continued. “It is trying to attack with poverty and political chaos where it cannot yet attack with missiles.”
Zelensky warned that Moscow is preparing for a “decisive energy attack on all Europeans” this winter and called for increased unity among Europeans and harsher sanctions against Russia.
The decision to shut down the Nord Stream 1 pipeline for maintenance came as the Group of Seven agreed to a price cap on Russian oil on Friday. Since late July, the pipeline had been functioning at only 20% of its capacity, according to The Associated Press.