Tuesday, March 28

Russia cuts gas supplies to Europe until sanctions are lifted for its invasion of Ukraine

With energy prices at record highs, Russia has just made good on its threat and has made explicit what was expected: it will not resume gas supplies to Europe until the West lifts sanctions on Moscow for invading Ukraine. This was stated by Dimitri Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, in statements to the Interfax agency quoted by various Western media.

The spokesman blamed the lack of supply on the sanctions introduced against Russia “by Western countries, including Germany and the United Kingdom”. “There are no other reasons that can cause problems with pumping,” said Peskov. in statements collected by Guardian.

Moscow accuses Europe of not carrying out the necessary maintenance work because of the same sanctions that the West has introduced against Russia. The Russian state consortium Gazprom has said that if the supply of gas to Europe through the Nord Stream gas pipeline is resumed, “an explosion or fire” could occur in the only active compressor station in Portovaya, thus justifying the cut.

The resumption of gas supply by Russia through Nord Stream 1 depends “without a doubt”, -according to Peskov- on the West lifting its sanctions on Moscow. “It is these sanctions imposed by Western states that have brought the situation to what we see now.”

Gazprom announced on Friday the complete suspension of gas transit through the Nord Stream gas pipeline, excusing itself on an alleged oil “leak” detected during maintenance of the only compressor station still in operation.

“Until the malfunction of the equipment is eliminated, the transit of gas through the Nord Stream gas pipeline is completely suspended,” the company reported on Friday.

Last Saturday Gazprom was supposed to reactivate the supply of gas to Europe through the gas pipeline – which was already operating at only 20% of its capacity – after completing three days of maintenance on a turbine at the compressor station.

The deputy head of the Russian Security Council and former president of the country, Dmitry Medvedev, had warned that “there will be no Russian gas” in Europe if the Twenty-seven put a cap on the price of fuel amid debates to do the same with oil.

Gas prices are up more than 30% after Russia’s decision on Friday night to keep the Nord Stream 1 pipeline closed. The energy crisis is also putting the euro under intense pressure, falling below 99 cents. US dollar to its lowest level since 2002.