President Vladimir Putin disputed Russia’s involvement in Europe’s energy crisis on Friday in Samarcand, stating that if the European Union desires more gas, it could relax sanctions preventing the Nord Stream 2 pipeline opening.
Speaking to reporters during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Uzbekistan, Putin attributed the energy issue to what he termed “the green agenda” and vowed that Russia would fulfill its energy obligations.
Putin stated, “The bottom line is, if you have the desire, if it’s so difficult for you, then eliminate the sanctions on Nord Stream 2, which is 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year, and everything will begin.”
Nord Stream 2, virtually parallel to Nord Stream 1 on the bed of the Baltic Sea, was constructed a year ago, but Germany chose not to proceed with it just days before Russia moved soldiers into Ukraine on February 24.
European gas prices have more than doubled since the beginning of the year due to a decrease in Russian supplies.
This year’s price increase has pinched struggling customers and halted output in several industries.
In retribution for Western sanctions imposed on Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine, Europe has accused Russia of weaponizing energy supplies. Russia asserts that the West has initiated an economic war, and sanctions have impeded the operations of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline.
Russia has cut off gas supplies to numerous nations, including Bulgaria and Poland, for refusing to pay in rubles instead of the contract’s currency.
The Russian gas giant Gazprom announced earlier this month that the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, Europe’s primary supply route, will remain closed due to a turbine oil leak at a compressor plant, causing wholesale gas prices to skyrocket.