Ukraine’s Zelenskiy warns Europeans to brace for bleak winter

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  • Zelenskiy: Russia plans ‘decisive energy boost for all Europeans’
  • Russia delays pipeline reopening in blow for Europe
  • IAEA says there is no queue at Zaporizhzhya factory, but backup is working

Kiev, Sept. 4 (Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has told Europeans to expect a difficult winter as the Russian attack on his country leads to cuts in Moscow’s oil and gas exports.

Zelenskiy spoke on Saturday night after Moscow shut down a main pipeline supplying Russian gas to the continent.

“Russia is preparing a decisive energy surge for all Europeans this winter,” he said in his daily video speech.

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Moscow has cited Western sanctions imposed over the invasion of Ukraine and technical difficulties for the power cuts. European countries that have supported the Kiev government with diplomatic and military support have accused Russia of arming its energy supply.

Some analysts say the shortages and a rise in the cost of living as winter approaches risk undermining Western support for Kiev as governments try to deal with disaffected populations.

Last week, Moscow said it would keep the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, the main gas channel to Germany, closed and the G7 countries announced a planned price cap on Russian oil exports.

The Kremlin said it would stop selling oil to countries that have introduced the limit.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Sunday that his government planned to stop gas supplies completely in December, but promised his country would get through the winter.

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

STREAMLINE TO AT ZAPORIZHZHIA

The Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine lost external power again, UN inspectors said on Saturday.

The last remaining external power line was cut, although a backup line continued to supply electricity to the grid, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a statement. read more

Only one of the six reactors remained in operation, it said.

The factory was seized by Russian forces shortly after President Vladimir Putin sent his army across the border on Feb. 24 and has become a focal point of conflict.

Each side has blamed the other for shelling nearby, raising fears that a nuclear disaster could be triggered.

An official of the Russian-installed government in Zaporizhzhya said the situation around the factory had been calm so far on Sunday.

Speaking to Komsomolskaya Pravda radio, the official, Igor Rogov, said there had been no shelling or raids. Russia has twice accused Ukraine of trying to capture the plant in the past two days. Ukraine said Russia had attacked the area itself.

IAEA experts are expected to continue working at the plant until at least Monday, Rogov said.

An IAEA mission last week toured the factory, which is still operated by Ukrainian personnel, and some experts have remained there pending the release of an IAEA report. read more

The plant said in a statement on Saturday that the fifth reactor had been shut down “due to constant shelling by Russian occupation forces” and that there was “insufficient capacity of the last reserve line to operate two reactors”.

Zelenskiy has blamed Russian shelling for an August 25 lockdown that cut the first Zaporizhzhya from the national grid, narrowly avoiding a radiation leak. That shutdown led to power cuts across Ukraine.

Ukraine and the West accuse Russia of stocking heavy weapons at the site to discourage Ukraine from firing at them. Russia, which denies having such weapons, has resisted international calls to move troops and demilitarize the area.

On other fronts, Ukrainian Telegram channels reported explosions at the Antonivsky Bridge near the southern city of Kherson, which is occupied by Russian forces.

The bridge has been badly damaged by Ukrainian missiles in recent weeks, but Russian forces attempted to repair the bridge or set up a pontoon crossing or barges to supply Russian units on the right bank of the Dnipro River.

Ukraine last week launched a counter-offensive against the south, particularly the Kherson region, which was occupied by the Russians early in the conflict.

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Reporting by Tom Balmforth in Kiev; Additional reporting by the Michael Shields, Ron Popeski and Reuters agencies; Written by Simon Cameron-Moore and Angus MacSwan; Editing by William Mallard and Philippa Fletcher

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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