Russia may halt energy exports if West caps prices: Putin

MOSCOW: President of Russia Vladimir Putin on Wednesday threatened to completely cut off the power supply to West if it tries to limit the price of Russian exports. He also vowed to continue with Moscowmilitary action of Ukraine until the goal is reached.
Speaking at an annual economic forum in the far eastern port city of Vladivostok, Putin mocked the EU’s plan to cap oil and gas prices as a “stupid” idea and “will only lead to price increase”.
“An attempt to limit prices by administrative measures is just a slur, complete nonsense,” Putin said. “If they try to make that stupid decision, it will do no good to the people who will make it.”
He warned that such a move by the EU would represent a clear violation of current positions, saying Russia can answer by turning off the faucet.
“Are they making political decisions that violate the contract?” he said. In that case, we will only stop offering if it conflicts with our economic interests. We will not supply any gas, oil, diesel or coal.”
The Russian leader alleges that Russia will easily find enough customers in Asia to shift energy exports out of Europe. “The demand in the global market is very strong so we should have no trouble selling it,” he said.
Mr. Putin added that “those who try to enforce something against us today have no right to dictate their will”, pointing to protests in the West against increasing energy prices.
Just hours before the scheduled resumption of natural gas shipments to Germany on Friday after a three-day halt for repairs, Russia’s state-controlled gas group Gazprom announced that it was unable to do so. until the oil leak in the turbine is rectified. German officials and engineers have denied that claim.
The Kremlin blamed the supply outage due to Western sanctions on Gazprom, saying it hinders the normal maintenance of the pipeline’s equipment and signaling that supply may not resume until restrictions are lifted. EU officials dismiss the claim as cover for a political power game.
Putin rejected the EU’s argument that Russia is using energy as a weapon by suspending the supply of gas through the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline to Germany, saying that sanctions have caused the pipeline turbines to work. unsafe movement.
“They have brought themselves to a standstill with sanctions,” he said.
He reiterated that Moscow is ready to start pumping gas “as early as tomorrow” through Nord Stream 2, which has been halted by the German authorities.
Turning to Ukraine, Putin again stated that the main goal behind sending troops into Ukraine was to protect civilians after eight years of fighting in the east of the country.
“We are not the ones who started the military action, we are trying to end it,” Putin said, repeating his long-standing argument that he ordered military action to protect the regions. Moscow-backed separatists in Ukraine, which have fought Ukrainian forces in the conflict that broke out in 2014 after Russia annexed Crimea.
“All of our actions are aimed at helping the people living in the Donbas, that is our mission and we will fulfill it to the end,” he said. “In the long run, it will help strengthen our country both domestically and internationally.”
Putin stressed that Russia would continue to defend its sovereignty in the face of what he described as efforts by the United States and its allies to maintain their global dominance, saying that “the world must not founded on the diktat of a nation that claims to be representative of the almighty or even higher and bases its policies on its perceived exclusivity”.
The Russian leader acknowledged that the national economy will shrink by 2% this year, but said that the economic and financial situation in Russia has stabilized, consumer price inflation has fallen and the unemployment rate remains at a low level. short.
“Russia has resisted the economic, financial and technological aggression of the West,” Putin said.
“There has been a certain polarization in the world and domestically, but I see it as a positive thing. Everything that is unnecessary, harmful, everything that has prevented us from moving forward will be rejected. ”
Commenting on the fact that many important media outlets were forced to close after the start of the military operation in Ukraine following the passage of a new law criminalizing any reporting of military action other than the official line Putin said that their reporters were happy to leave. Nation.
“They always worked against our country when they were here, and now they happily move out,” he said.
Russia’s leading independent newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, was one of the newspapers forced to close under official pressure.
On Monday, a court in Moscow rejected a petition by Russian authorities to revoke the airline’s license.
Dmitry Muratov, the paper’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning editor-in-chief, called Monday’s ruling “political” and “without the slightest legal basis”.
Putin has sought to downplay Muratov’s award, describing it as politically motivated and comparing it to the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Barack Obama while he is the president of the United States.
“We had business-like relationships with President Obama, but what did they give him the Nobel Prize for?” Putin said. “What did he do to help preserve the peace? I mean military operations in certain areas of the world that the president has conducted.”
Commenting on the European Union’s decision to make it harder for Russian citizens to join the 27-nation bloc, Putin said that Russia would not reciprocate in kind and would continue to welcome visitors.
“We won’t stop contacting and the people who do that, they isolate themselves, not us,” he said.

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