Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed accusations that Moscow is using energy as a “weapon,” claiming that Europe’s gas shortfall is primarily the result of “systematic flaws” in the continent’s energy sector. Speaking at an event in Moscow, the president criticized the European energy market’s “flaws,” adding that “some try to pass their errors onto others.”
Europe is in the grip of a gas crisis, as prices have risen to multi-year highs in recent weeks. Some on the continent accuse Russia of purposefully limiting gas supply to Europe. Putin, on the other hand, stated on Wednesday that Russia is “ready” to expand gas exports, adding that supplies are being increased by “as much as our partners ask us.” In what he called a “difficult situation,” he said it was “very important” to “suggest a long-term mechanism to stabilize the energy market.” Russia provides more than one-third of Europe’s natural gas.
Later that day, Putin told CNBC that the charges leveled against his nation are “politically motivated blather,” and that there is “nothing to support the notion that we use energy as a kind of weapon.” “We aren’t using any weapons. Even during the darkest days of the Cold War, Russia consistently met its contractual obligations and supplied gas to Europe,” Putin stated.
Earlier Wednesday, Russia’s energy minister Nikolai Shulginov stated that new contracts will be required for increasing supply to Europe. “If there are requests, they will only be granted through the creation of new contractual obligations,” he explained. Energy consumption in Europe is rising as businesses resume normalcy following the end of pandemic lockdowns, while supply from renewable resources like the wind is decreasing.