4th Dec 2022

Russia blames Western sanctions for EU gas supply problems

  • '[Vladimir] Putin is using energy as a weapon by cutting supply and manipulating our energy markets,' said European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen on Monday (Photo:
Listen to article

Moscow has said Western sanctions are causing the problems preventing the restoration of gas flows via Nord Stream 1, the major supply pipeline connecting Russia and Europe via the Baltic Sea.

"Problems with gas supply arose because of the sanctions imposed on our country by Western states, including Germany and Britain," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday (5 September).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The gas pipeline, which was expected to resume operations over the weekend, was shut down indefinitely on Friday after an oil leak was found.

Peskov said sanctions are "causing chaos" and complicating maintenance work on the Nord Stream 1. "There are no other reasons that lead to problems with supplies", he said.

Earlier this summer, Russian state-controlled energy giant Gazprom also cut gas flows for 10 days of repair work — raising fears that Russia could further curb gas flows to the region or cut off supplies completely.

Germany's economy minister Robert Habeck recently said that his country cannot rely on gas supplies from Russia this winter.

Nevertheless, managing to refill Germany's gas-storage facilities to 95 capacity by 1 November would still only cover a maximum of 2.5 months of the country's heating and power demand, if Russia closes the gas tap, according to German regulators.

And the new cut-off is also putting at risk Germany's gas storage plans for this winter, Bloomberg reports.

Gas prices recorded a new surge on Monday as traders reacted to Russia's decision to keep Nord Stream 1 closed. The average gas price reached almost €290 per megawatt-hour (MWh) when markets opened.

"Putin is using energy as a weapon by cutting supply and manipulating our energy markets," said European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen on Monday.

Friday's crunch EU meeting

EU energy ministers will discuss this Friday various measures to tackle high energy prices, including price caps on energy, reduction-demand targets, and windfall taxes on profits from high energy gas prices.

The energy crisis, meanwhile, keeps filling the Kremlin's coffers as soaring prices boost Russia's earnings from energy exports.

Russia has made more than €158bn in revenues from oil, gas and coal exports since the war started in late February, according to an analysis from the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) published on Tuesday.

The EU has been the largest importer of Russian energy since the invasion of Ukraine started, with imports accounting for over €84bn.

The 27-nations bloc is followed by China (€35bn), Turkey (€11bn), India (€7bn) and South Korea (€2bn).

Within the EU, the biggest buyers of Russian gas were Germany (€19bn), Netherlands (€11.1bn), Italy (€8.6bn) and Poland (€7.4bn) — followers by France (€5.5bn), Bulgaria (€5.2bn), Belgium (€4.5bn) and Spain (€3.3bn). 

"To combat this [record-breaking revenues], governments need to impose tariffs or price caps on imports from Russia and accelerate energy-saving measures," said Lauri Myllyvirta, lead analyst at CREA and one of the authors of the report. 

Myllyvirta argues that reducing oil and gas consumption should be given priority, raising investments and accelerating the deployment of heat pumps and electric vehicles.

Europe burned more gas for power despite crunch

Europe's energy supply from both hydro power and nuclear is down by double-digit percentages so far this year, despite the need to diversify from interrupted Russian gas supplies.


Does EU's post-Ukraine dash-for-gas square with green goals?

This winter's gas squeeze will pit affordable energy against longer-term climate and democracy policies. European leaders should not buckle to short-term energy fixes but maintain policy coherence that marries all three areas — or lose support both citizens and allies.

EU energy ministers' meeting ends with 'no decision made'

EU energy ministers met for an extraordinary council meeting to discuss a unified European response to the energy crisis — but no decision was reached, with negotiations likely continuing until the end of September.

Portugal was poised to scrap 'Golden Visas' - why didn't it?

Over the last 10 years, Portugal has given 1,470 golden visas to people originating from countries whose tax-transparency practices the EU finds problematic. But unlike common practice in other EU states with similar programmes, Portugal has not implemented "due diligence".

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP27: Food systems transformation for climate action
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region and the African Union urge the COP27 to talk about gender equality
  3. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  4. Friedrich Naumann Foundation European DialogueGender x Geopolitics: Shaping an Inclusive Foreign Security Policy for Europe
  5. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos

Latest News

  1. EU must break Orbán's veto on a tax rate for multinationals
  2. Belarus dictator's family loves EU luxuries, flight data shows
  3. How Berlin and Paris sold-out the EU corporate due diligence law
  4. Turkey's EU-funded detention centres ripe with abuse: NGO
  5. In green subsidy race, EU should not imitate US
  6. EU Commission proposes suspending billions to Hungary
  7. EU: Russian assets to be returned in case of peace treaty
  8. Frontex leadership candidates grilled by MEPs

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Committee of the RegionsRe-Watch EURegions Week 2022
  2. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  4. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  6. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us