Putin warns EU that gas supplies could continue to dry up

MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday said it was the West’s own fault that the flow of Russian natural gas to European customers had shrunk and warned that it could continue to decline.

Putin’s statement further increased pressure on the European Union, which fears Russia could cut off gas to wreak economic and political havoc in Europe in the winter.

Speaking to Russian reporters in Tehran, where he attended talks with the leaders of Iran and Turkey, Putin said the amount of gas pumped through the Nord Stream pipeline to Germany would be further reduced from 60 million. down to 30 million cubic meters a day, or about one-fifth of its capacity, if a turbine is not quickly replaced.

He added that Russia could start up the recently completed Nord Stream 2 pipeline that has never been put into operation, but noted that it will only reach half of its designated capacity as the rest is already being used for demand. domestic demand.

The Russian leader also warned the West that Russia’s plan to cap oil prices as part of sanctions on Ukraine would destabilize the global oil market and cause prices to soar.

“We are hearing some crazy ideas about limiting the volume of Russian oil and limiting the price of Russian oil,” he said. “The result will be the same – increase in price. Prices will skyrocket.”

Since Russian troops flooded Ukraine in February, the EU has adopted a ban on Russian coal and most oil that goes into effect later this year but does not include natural gas because of the 27-nation bloc. depend on it to power factories, produce electricity and heat homes. .

However, Russia’s state-controlled natural gas giant Gazprom reduced gas shipments via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany by 60% last month, citing technical problems after a turbines that Siemens sent to Canada for overhaul could not be returned because of sanctions. Canada and Germany have reached an agreement to return the turbines, but Putin said on Tuesday that Gazprom had not yet received the relevant documents.

The Russian leader said that Gazprom would close another turbine for repair by the end of July, and that if the turbine had been sent to Canada by that time, the gas flow would have decreased further.

As another reason for the supply cuts, he pointed out that Ukraine has closed a branch of a transit pipeline that carries Russian gas to the West through territory controlled by Moscow-based separatists.

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