Zelenskyy says Ukraine can be 'stable' energy source for Europe: 'Winter won't be easy'

Zelenskyy tells European business leaders it is in their interest to stop Russia's war so Ukraine can supply energy amid shortages

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told European businessmen this week that Kyiv could be a "stable" electricity source for Europe amid energy shortages if Russia's war does not block its supplies.

Russia has repeatedly cut gas supplies to nations in the European Union since the war in Ukraine began in February and western nations are scrambling to shore up stockpiles and counter inflation.

But gas isn’t the only energy commodity under attack from Russia. 

Large machinery at a LNG port on the water in Germany

Ships are loaded and unloaded at the port of Brunsbuettel, Germany, March 1, 2022. (Frank Molter/dpa via AP / AP Newsroom)


The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest nuclear power station, which has been under Russian occupation since March, provides electricity for not only Ukraine but for several European nations.

Concerns over the plant's security range from energy shortages to nuclear fallout as both sides continue to fight for control of the plant. 

"We are ready to be a stable electricity supplier," Zelenskyy on Monday told representatives of France's largest employment federation, the Movement of Enterprises of France, according to a translation by Interfax. 

Zelenskyy has called for businesses to leave Russia and argued that European nations have a responsibility to do what they can to squash Russia’s war.  

Restrictive international sanctions have prompted many companies to leave Russia amid its war in Ukraine. 

But the costs of moving and the loss of business come as inflation rates have spiked around the globe. 

"I understand that there might be losses for business," Zelenskyy said. "You can show your unity and show how business treats Russia's destructive polices.

"The winter will not be comfortable, but they [Russia] must be put in their place," he added.

Zelenskyy World Economic Forum

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is seen on a screen as he addresses the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on May 23, 2022, from Kyiv. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, File / AP Newsroom)

Officials across the European continent are concerned how high inflation and energy shortages could affect people’s abilities to heat their homes this winter. 

But Zelenskyy argued that making decisions based on financial concern over democratic principles is what Russian President Vladimir Putin is banking on. 

"This is what the authors of this large-scale and completely artificial crisis… are counting on. They want the Europeans to be scared," he said.  "We warned you that there would be a fuel shortage. We had talked about preventive sanctions even before the war."


Zelenskyy pointed to recent reports of excessive burn rates at a Russian owned compressor station near Finland’s border. 

"Russia is burning at least €10 million ($10.02 million) worth of gas near the Finnish border every day," he told business leaders. "Gas is being burned that should have been supplied to German and other European consumers. 

"Russia cannot stop its production, does not want to supply it to the Europeans… and has no other buyers," he continued. "So it just burns this gas. Just like they burn our people."

Russia gas flare is seen Friday, Aug. 26, 2022

A gas flare at Portovaya Bay in the Leningrad region, Russia, Aug. 26, 2022. (Reuters/Stringer / Reuters Photos)


Ukraine, which began supplying electricity to the EU this year, is slated to help alleviate European energy woes as nations look to sever their reliance on Russian gas. 

But Zelenksyy said these agreements can only be fulfilled if Russia’s war effort is halted and its attempts to "blackmail" Europe’s energy sector stopped.