The planned reopening of Russia’s main gas pipeline to Germany was halted Saturday, after state energy firm Gazprom said it found an oil leak in a turbine of Nord Stream 1 — deepening fears of a winter energy crisis throughout Europe.
The announcement fueled accusations that Russia is seeking to weaponize its sway over the world energy market.
“This was predictable, and it was predicted,” former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote Saturday in an I-told-you-so tweet.
“I warned Germany not to rely on Russian energy,” he continued. “Energy security is national security, which is why we must regain our energy independence.”
President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine also took to social media to condemn the development.
“When a state turns energy poverty or hunger into a weapon, it harms everyone in the world,” Zelensky wrote on Instagram.
Saturday’s announcement came on the heels of a three-day shutdown of Nord Stream 1 this week for maintenance, Gazprom officials said.
But the discovery of the leak, which could mean in indefinite shutdown of the vital energy link, also followed a Group of 7 agreement to impose a price cap on Russian oil in an attempt to choke off the funding stream that is powering the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine.
“We will continue to stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes,” the G7, an organization of the world’s seven largest advanced economies, announced after a virtual meeting Friday.
A Kremlin spokesman responded that Russia would halt all sales of its oil to countries that follow through on the price-cap threat.
Meanwhile, the fourth and last external power line at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant — Europe’s largest – went down Saturday after heavy shelling in the area, leaving only a reserve line to supply Ukrainian-held territories with electricity, the head of the UN nuclear watchdog said.
Members of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) arrived at Zaporizhzhia this week after months of agonizing negotiations as fighting raged around the sensitive site — and fears of a nuclear disaster mounted
One reactor was disconnected Saturday afternoon because of grid restrictions, IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said. Another reactor there is still operating, producing electricity for households and for essential safety functions at the plant itself, particularly cooling — crucial for preventing a catastrophic meltdown.
Russian-appointed regional authorities claimed a Ukrainian shelling attack on Saturday morning, part of an attempt to seize the plant the previous night, caused the destruction of the final main external power line.
Ukraine and Russia have traded blame in recent weeks for the fighting around Zaporizhzhia, which stands in Russian-held territory but has been operated since March by its Ukrainian staff.
The plant has suffered extensive structural damage in the fighting, Grossi said Friday after conducting an initial review of the site — but he praised its “very professional” technicians for continuing their work there.
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