Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of using energy as a weapon by keeping a critical pipeline to Germany shut down in recent days, exacerbating electricity and natural gas shortfalls ahead of the winter months. 

"Russia wants to destroy the normal life of every European — in all countries of our continent," Zelenskyy said in his nightly address on Saturday.

"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. This winter, Russia is preparing for a decisive energy attack on all Europeans."

Russian energy company Gazprom has blamed technical problems for this week's shutdown of Nord Stream 1, saying that oil leaks in turbines must be fixed before natural gas flows resume.

Ukraine war Nord Stream 1 pipeline

The Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea pipeline, through which Russian natural gas has been flowing to Germany since 2011, was shut down this week. (Jens Büttner/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Germany’s Siemens Energy, which manufactures turbines that Nord Stream 1 uses, dismissed Gazprom's explanation for the shutdown, saying that turbine leaks can be fixed while gas flows.


European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine for surging energy prices but said Norway and the U.S. are now supplying natural gas to energy-starved European countries.

"We see that the electricity market is no longer operating because it is being severely disrupted by Putin’s manipulation," von der Leyen said Friday.

Ukrainian Russian war

A local resident walks next to a house destroyed by Russian shelling in Kramatorsk, Ukraine. (AP Photo/Andriy Andriyenko)

Parts of Ukraine have also been without electricity recently due to fighting around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, which is the largest in Europe.

The plant was temporarily disconnected from its last main external power line on Saturday, the International Atomic Energy Agency said.

Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant exercise takes place Aug. 17, 2022

A Ukrainian Emergency Ministry rescuer attends an exercise in the city of Zaporizhzhia on August 17, 2022, in case of a possible nuclear incident at the nuclear power plant located near the city. (Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images)


A 14-member delegation from the United Nations nuclear agency visited the besieged plant this week to assess damage.

Russian forces took the facility over in March, but the plant's Ukrainian staff have continued operations.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.