Energy crisis is a small price to pay to avert a 'fully-fledged world war', says Zelenskyy

3 September 2022, 23:35 | Updated: 3 September 2022, 23:37

Zelenskyy has said the energy crisis is "incomparable" to the Russian threat.
Zelenskyy has said the energy crisis is "incomparable" to the Russian threat. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

Volodymyr Zelenskyy has warned inflation and the cost of living crisis in Europe are "incomparable" to the risks posed by a global war, as he insisted further aid to Ukraine is essential in stopping Putin's war machine.

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The Ukrainian president said he has "no strength and time" for war fatigue fuelled by the cost of living crisis that was worsened by Russia squeezing natural gas supplies.

Instead, he warns of the risk of global war if Russian aggression succeeds, and claims that threat is “incomparable” to a short-term energy crisis.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska recognised that the impact of the war in Ukraine is tough on its allies, but as Britons "count pennies", Ukrainians "count casualties".

In an interview with the BBC, to be broadcast on Sunday, she says that while the rest of Europe has been pitched into an energy crisis, Ukraine is at the forefront of Russian attacks.

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"I understand the situation is very tough. But let me recall that at the time of the Covid-19 epidemic, and it's still with us, when there were price hikes, Ukraine was affected as well," she said.

"The prices are going up in Ukraine as well. But in addition our people get killed.

"So when you start counting pennies on your bank account or in your pocket, we do the same and count our casualties," she said.

It comes after Russia announced it will not restart the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which supplies gas to Europe, on Saturday as expected, blaming an 'oil leak'.

Russia's Gazprom halted the flow of natural gas through the major pipeline from Russia to Europe early on Wednesday.

The stoppage was announced in advance and was supposed to last three days.

'This is an example where Putin is weaponising oil and gas to his benefit.'

But on Friday the Russian state-run energy company said in a social media post that it had identified "malfunctions" of a key turbine along the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which carries natural gas from western Russia to Germany.

The move was announced after finance ministers from the G7 - including Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi - agreed a price cap on Russian crude oil and petroleum products, a move Mr Zahawi said he believed would "curtail Putin's capacity to fund" the war in Ukraine.

Mr Zelenskyy, who has continued to thank the UK for its support since Russia's barbaric invasion, paid tribute to UK solidarity.

He promised to forge "close relations" with the new prime minister, who will be announced on Monday.

Writing in the Mail on Sunday and the Sunday Times, Mr Zelenskyy expressed his hope for future "close relations" with Mr Johnson's successor, who could be in line for an invitation to visit Kyiv.

Zelenskyy has hailed Boris Johnson a "true friend".
Zelenskyy has hailed Boris Johnson a "true friend". Picture: Alamy

Mr Zelenksy told the Sunday Times that it would be a "priority" to extend an invitation to the next prime minister, while he also admitted that he was "concerned" when he heard Mr Johnson was resigning.

"When we learned that there would be a change of government, all of us were concerned," he told the paper.

"Johnson was supporting us and a lot depends on the leader. The leader is the one who communicates. The leader is the one that mediates between a country and its people, and a leader has an impact upon society."

The Foreign Secretary is widely tipped to become prime minister next week.

The Ukrainian president said he would welcome whoever the next prime minister is and would establish "close relations".

"I sincerely hope that Boris's legacy in this fight against Russian barbarism will be preserved.

"We will continue to fight on because we do not have any other option. It is our lives and our future at stake. And we still need the UK's support and leadership."

Mr Zelensky concludes by paying tribute to "my friend Boris".

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