Posted in: 07/10/2021 – 10:40
On Wednesday, October 6, 2021, Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed Europe for the current energy crisis, after high gas prices caused accusations that Moscow was limiting supplies to put pressure on the West.
Putin said during a televised meeting with leaders of the Russian energy sector, that the Europeans “made mistakes.” He said one of the factors that affected prices was the termination of “long-term contracts” in favor of the spot market. “It turns out, and it is now quite clear, that this policy is wrong,” he added. The Russian president’s words came after Moscow was criticized for deliberately limiting gas supplies in an attempt to speed up the launch of the “Nord Stream 2” gas pipeline linking Russia with Germany, after it was completed and the process of filling it began.
On Wednesday, European and British gas prices recorded a rise of more than 25 percent, driven by increased demand with the approach of winter in the northern hemisphere. Earlier on Wednesday, Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, denied these accusations. “First, we do not only believe, but we stress that Russia does not and cannot play any role in what is happening in the European gas market,” Peskov said. “Russia has fulfilled all its obligations under the existing contracts, continues to fulfill and will continue to fulfill them responsibly,” he added.
Russian energy giant Gazprom last month announced the completion of the 10 billion-euro ($12 billion) pipeline, and the Kremlin said its launch would help ease the energy crisis in Europe.
The construction of the “Nord Stream 2” line has angered Ukraine because it bypasses it and will make it lose huge amounts of fees it gets thanks to transiting Russian gas. But Vladimir Putin called on Gazprom on Wednesday to respect transit contracts with Kiev. “Gazprom believes that it will be more economically more convenient and more profitable for it to pay a fine to Ukraine and increase the volume of gas being pumped by new systems…but I ask them not to do that,” he said. He added that Kiev should not be put “in a difficult position” and damage to Gazprom’s reputation as a “totally reliable partner”.
Meanwhile, Gazprom said that its gas production in 2021 is expected to exceed 510 billion cubic meters, a level not seen in a decade, according to Russia’s RIA news agency.
On the sidelines of a gas forum in Saint Petersburg on Wednesday, Vitaly Markelov, deputy chairman of the board, indicated that the group expects a “cold” and “good” winter for Gazprom, the agency said.
It is feared that higher prices will affect the purchasing power of European consumers.