President Volodymyr Zelensky warned Ukrainians and their European allies to prepare for a bleak winter after Russia halted the flow of natural gas in a vital pipeline to the continent.
“Where Russia cannot do it by force of conventional weapons, it does so by force of energy weapons,” Zelensky said in a video address Saturday. “It is trying 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,” he said, adding that Moscow’s intent is “to weaken and intimidate the entire Europe, every state.”
The Ukrainian leader’s comments come in the wake of a decision by Russian energy giant Gazprom to suspend the flow of natural gas to Europe through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline after the discovery of an oil leak in a turbine, increasing the fear of an energy crisis as the winter months near.
The pipeline runs under the Baltic Sea and connects Russia to Germany.
Russia has blamed sanctions imposed by the US and its Western allies for the technical disruptions to energy shipments, but European nations have accused President Vladimir Putin of weaponizing the export of gas and oil in an effort to punish them for supporting Ukraine militarily.
Germany Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Sunday announced a number of measures, including $65 billion in relief, to lessen skyrocketing energy prices and the effects of inflation from the more than five-month war.
“Germany stands together in a difficult time. As a country, we will get through this difficult time,” Scholz told reporters at a news conference in Berlin.
He also announced one-time payments to households to help handle energy costs, a planned price cap on a basic amount of energy for families and individuals, as well as a plan to reduce public transportation costs.
“We take these concerns very, very seriously,” Scholz said.
The Group of Seven wealthy nations on Saturday agreed to an oil-price cap for Russian oil to squeeze off a revenue stream that helps fund Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
As the war launched when Russia invaded on Feb. 24 continues to grind on, a Ukrainian general said the country’s air defense forces have shot down up to 70% of Russia’s missiles.
Maj. Gen. Mykola Zhirnov, the leader of the Kyiv City Military Administration, said in an interview Saturday that the capital is “reliably protected by anti-aircraft defense,” and “will no longer be threatened by rocket attacks.”
“As long as the enemy has missile and air weapons, there will still be a threat of air and missile strikes,” Zhirnov said, according to Newsweek, adding that aircraft and anti-aircraft systems have downed 50% to 70% of Russian rockets.
“But, unfortunately, today we cannot ensure 100% effectiveness of air defense operations, this is due to objective reasons — insufficient number of reconnaissance means, aviation and anti-aircraft missile systems,” he said. “Basically, these are Soviet systems, which do not have the same efficiency and reliability as the air defense equipment of NATO partner countries.”
With Post wires