Ukraine has accused Moscow of waging a “gas war” against Europe and cutting gas supplies to inflict “terror” on people.
Gazprom, the Russian energy firm, announced this week that it is again reducing gas flows into Germany to work on a turbine on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. Ukraine’s president Volodymyr however, termed the decision a “gas blackmail” against Europe. Given that the gas supply had been cut off for ten days earlier this month to work on the pipeline and was opened just a few days ago. Also, before it was cut off, the Nord Stream 1 pipeline ran well below capacity for weeks.
But Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said this was simply “gas blackmail” against Europe.
On Monday, Gazprom announced it would be cutting its gas supply again to around half the current levels to carry out maintenance work. The German government said there was no technical reason for the limit of supply.
In his nightly address, President Zelensky said, “The gas blackmail of Europe, which only gets worse every month, is needed by a terrorist state to make the life of every European worse.” He further said it was an intentional move to make Europe’s winter preparation difficult with no care whatsoever for the poor, who will suffer more intensely during the winter due to lessened or cut supply.
The European Union has also accused Russia of using energy as a weapon as the reduction in flows has pressured EU countries to reduce their dependence on Russia’s supply. As they do not necessarily have an alternative, it would be difficult for them to replenish their gas supply at the end of winter. Last week, the European Commission proposed that their member states reduce their gas consumption rate by 15% for the rest of the year. Although some countries have resisted the plan, the pressure to accept the proposal remains high. European energy ministers meet in Brussel on Tuesday to reach a joint decision on the oil crisis.
Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, has earlier said during the 10 days of maintenance gas cut-off that the prospect of Russia completely cutting off gas supplies to the EU was a “likely scenario.”
Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, wholesale gas prices have already soared, with a knock-on impact on consumer energy bills across the globe.
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