Russia could halt all energy shipments into Europe if the West brings in caps on the price of gas, warned President Vladimir Putin.
He said: “We will not supply gas, oil, coal, heating oil – we will not supply anything,” if a cap was brought in.
The threat follows calls from the European Union (EU) to bring in both a price cap on Russian gas and a ceiling for prices from generators not running on fossil fuels.
EU energy ministers are due to hold a meeting on Friday, where the prospect of a price cap is likely to be discussed.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “We will propose a price cap on Russian gas… We must cut Russia’s revenues which Putin uses to finance this atrocious war in Ukraine,”
The West is keen to to deprive the Kremlin of funds to finance its invasion of Ukraine, with the G7 separately agreeing to bring in a cap on the price of Russian oil earlier this month.
The EU, US and UK have also targeted Russian energy supplies with sanctions.
The US has banned all fossil fuel imports from the country, the UK is phasing out coal and oil imports, while the EU has sanctioned seaborne oil shipments.
The US and France have both argued Moscow is already using energy as a “weapon” to weaken Europe’s opposition to its invasion.
Kremlin-backed gas giant Gazprom suspended flows via the key Nord Stream 1 pipeline due to alleged maintenance issues, which were denied by key manufacturer Siemens Energy.
Typically, the EU relies on Russia for around 40 per cent of its gas imports and 30 per cent of its oil purchases.
However, Gazprom revealed the EU has cut its gas purchases 48 per cent, while the UK reported an entire month without Russian supplies this summer.
EU scrambles to secure supplies this winter
The bloc is racing to secure supplies this winter, targeting 80 per cent for November this year and 90 per cent for subsequent winters.
Currently, storage levels are at 82.5 per cent according to Gas Infrastructure Europe, with the bloc topping up supplies with ultra-expensive purchases of liquefied natural gas from overseas.
Nevertheless, multiple countries including Germany and Spain have brought in rationing measures and public information campaigns based around saving energy.
The pressure on the bloc will only increase if flows from Russia are fully halted this winter.
In the UK, Prime Minister Liz Truss is set to announce a support package for skyrocketing energy bills that will dwarf the £70bn furlough scheme from the pandemic.
The Russian squeeze on energy has caused the price cap to spike 80 per cent with forecasters predicting households bills of over £6,000 next spring.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has reported “good news” from the front near Kharkiv in the east.
He revealed that some settlements had been recaptured as both sides reported heavy fighting in the region.
Ukrainian and pro-Russian officials confirmed to news agency Reuters there was fighting around the town of Balakleiia about 60 km southeast of Kharkiv, with unconfirmed reports of heavy losses to Russian forces.