Zelensky calls for more EU pressure on Russian energy sector

The Russian-owned ISAB Lukoil refinery in Priolo Gargallo, Italy. PHOTO: NYTIMES

KYIV - President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday called on Brussels to ramp up pressure on Russia's energy sector, a day after the EU imposed a fresh round of sanctions on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

"We must continue moving in this direction - the direction of pressure on the Russian energy sector, on this main source of income of the aggressor state," Zelensky said in a video address to an EU summit in Prague.

He thanked the EU for the adoption of new sanctions on Moscow, which expanded import/export bans and blacklisted individuals over Russia's annexation of four Ukrainian regions.

Zelensky also reiterated Kyiv's calls to "demilitarise" Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant - Europe's largest nuclear facility - that is located in territory Moscow claimed to have annexed.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his government this week to take over operations of the plant in southern Ukraine.

"This is not only about Russian military equipment, but also about the removal of all troops from the plant," Zelensky said, adding that there were around 500 Russians currently at the plant.

He said it was "essential for nuclear safety" and for Ukraine to have enough electricity to export. AFP

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