Vladimir Putin says Russia is not using energy as a weapon

Talking at an energy convention in Moscow on Wednesday, Putin referred to as the accusations “politically motivated” and with out proof. His feedback got here as EU officers mentioned decrease than anticipated provides of Russian gasoline have been partly in charge for Europe’s power disaster and pledged to speed up the bloc’s efforts to wean itself off fossil fuels.

“Russia isn’t utilizing any weapons,” Putin mentioned. “Even throughout the hardest elements of the Chilly Struggle, Russia frequently fulfilled its contractual obligations and equipped gasoline to Europe,” he added.

Russia final interrupted gasoline exports to the European Union in January 2009 after failing to agree costs and pipeline transit tariffs with Ukraine. It additionally decreased gasoline flows briefly to Ukraine in 2006 and 2008 as the results of pricing disputes.

State-owned Gazprom warned of a repeat of the 2009 disaster in 2014 after Ukraine did not pay its power payments and Russia’s relations with the West plummeted over its annexation of Crimea. That risk by no means materialized.

Putin struck a extra conciliatory tone on Wednesday, saying that Russia was “ready to debate any extra steps” with European governments to sort out the worsening power disaster.

“Russia flawlessly fulfills its contractual obligations to our companions, together with our companions in Europe,” he mentioned. “Furthermore, we all the time try to fulfill our companions midway.”

Wholesale electrical energy costs in Europe have elevated by 200% in comparison with the 2019 common, in accordance with the European Fee. The surge is the results of hovering pure gasoline prices, pushed by excessive demand in Asia and lower-than anticipated deliveries from Russia.

Most EU international locations depend on gas-fired energy stations to fulfill electrical energy demand, and about 40% of that gasoline comes from Russia, in accordance with Eurostat.

Final month, the Worldwide Power Company referred to as on Russia to produce extra pure gasoline to Europe to assist alleviate the disaster, saying that though Russia is assembly contractual obligations to European prospects, exports are down from their 2019 degree.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov instructed journalists on Wednesday that Russia has elevated gasoline provides to Europe to the utmost attainable degree underneath present contracts and can’t exceed these thresholds.

Russian officers have beforehand mentioned that dashing up the approval of the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline linking Russia with Germany might assist deliver down pure gasoline costs. The pipeline was accomplished final month regardless of years of opposition from international locations together with america, which warned that it could increase Moscow’s affect in Europe.

The Biden administration introduced in July that it had reached a take care of Berlin that may permit the pipeline to go forward in change for German help to Ukraine. It’s now awaiting clearance from German authorities.

The European Fee on Wednesday unveiled a collection of measures aimed toward tackling the power disaster, together with dashing up the transition to renewable types of power.

EU member states have put in place a collection of emergency measures to assist shoppers and companies deal with the decade-high electrical energy prices, together with direct monetary help to households, state support for firms and focused tax reductions.

— Amy Cassidy, Chris Liakos, Walé Azeez and Katharina Krebs contributed reporting.

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