Putin briefs Scholz on gas delivery issues to Europe triggered by Western sanctions

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on 13th September about the current state of the European energy sector. According to a statement released by the Kremlin, Putin informed Scholz that problems with gas delivery to Europe through the Nord Stream-1 project were due to Western sanctions against Moscow.

The statement read: “Describing the current situation in the European energy sector, Vladimir Putin underlined that Russia has been and remains a reliable supplier of energy resources, fulfilling all its contractual obligations and interruptions, for example, in the operation of the North Stream. 1 gas pipeline, are caused by anti-Russian sanctions that interfere with its maintenance. »

Any attempt to blame Moscow for European energy concerns, Putin says, is fallacious, given the authorities in the respective countries’ shutting down of gas supplies via Ukraine and Poland, as well as their reluctance to allow operation. of Nord Stream-2. When the first interruptions in the flow of Russian gas to many European states began to manifest themselves in early July, the energy situation in the EU worsened.

This was specifically caused by technical and maintenance issues with the Nord Stream pipeline turbines due to sanctions imposed by the US-led West. Following this, the European Commission urged EU member states to prepare in advance for a possible halt to all Russian gas imports. He also unveiled a plan for all member countries to voluntarily reduce their gas consumption by 15% from August 1, 2022 to March 31, 2023.

The energy crisis in Europe

As the Russian-Ukrainian war nears its 200th day, Europe faces a full-fledged and unprecedented energy crisis, and the winter season is not far off. Energy prices in the UK, for example, are expected to rise by 80% this winter, according to the country’s energy regulator Ofgem.

Germany, meanwhile, has launched a €65 billion aid package in response to the country’s soaring energy spending. Prior to the invasion, Germany purchased nearly 55% of its natural gas and more than 30% of its crude oil supply from Russia. It includes one-off payments to vulnerable companies as well as tax benefits for companies that mainly deal with energy.

One of Russia’s main means of supplying gas to Europe is the Nord Stream-1, although it is currently being used at a small part of its potential due to turbine maintenance issues. The Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline has been built but has not yet been commissioned due to sanctions imposed on Russia.

Image: AP

Mary I. Bruner