Putin up tensions: Russian President blames West for supply crisis
Russian President Vladimir Putin has pointed the finger at the West for Europe’s energy crisis.
Speaking at Russian Energy Week in Moscow, he laid the blame for potential supply shortages this winter through its own policy failures.
He criticised the European Union’s (EU) green energy drive, which he argued had led to underinvestment in the global oil and gas industry.
The EU is targeting a vast ramp up in renewable energy to meet its net zero goals and boost its energy independence following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The bloc has accused Russia of using gas supplies as a weapon against the West, since the invasion of Ukraine – a charge repeatedly denied by the Kremlin.
The EU has hit Russia with a wave of sanctions over the past eight months, targeting Russian financial institutions, energy supplies and oligarchs.
Russia has been squeezing supplies into the continent, with Gazprom turning halting flows via the Nord Stream pipeline and cutting off supplies to dozens of EU states.
Gazprom boss Alexey Miller has warned the EU could face supply shortages heading into next spring.
Europe defiant amid Russian supply squeeze
Following Gazprom’s decision to halt flows, explosions and leaks were reported across the Nord Stream pipeline, which Swedish and Danish authorities have reported as sabotage.
Putin described the leaks on the two Nord Stream pipelines running under the Baltic Sea as an “act of international terrorism” to deprive people of cheap energy.
He also said gas could still be supplied by one intact part of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline but it was up to the EU whether or not it wanted the gas.
“The ball, as they say, is now in the EU’s court – let them just open the tap,” Putin said.
However, Germany quickly rejected Putin’s offer to send gas via Nord Stream 2 and has laid the blame at Russia’s doorstep.
The country has been shifting its reliance on Russia ahead of winter, cutting its imports from 55 per cent of gas demand to 35 per cent this year.
The EU has been pushing member states to agree a price cap to tame wholesale costs and slash Russian war revenues.
It has scrambled to secure gas storage to 90 per cent of capacity ahead of winter, as it looks to reduce supply shortages.
However, multiple EU states including Germany and Netherlands remain opposed to the gas price cap, even though a majority of countries support it.
The bloc is now set to unveil compromise measures next week, such as joint gas buying and an alternative gas price benchmark.