Russia Announces Cut in Gas Supplies to EU

Russia said it will cut gas supplies to Europe from tomorrow, adversely affecting countries that have backed Ukraine.

Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel has criticized the United States’s sanctions against Russia that target EU–Russia energy projects. Credit: Russian Presidential Press and Information Office, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Russia said it will cut gas supplies to Europe from tomorrow, adversely affecting countries that have backed Ukraine.

Soaring energy costs and the threat of hunger faced by millions in poorer nations show how the biggest conflict in Europe since World War Two, now in its sixth month, is having an impact far beyond Ukraine. European Union countries are set to approve on Tuesday a weakened emergency proposal to curb their gas demand as they try to wean themselves off Russian energy and prepare for a possible total cut-off.

Russian energy giant Gazprom, citing instructions from an industry watchdog, said gas flows to Germany through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline would fall to 33 million cubic metres per day from 27 July, 2022. That is half of the current flows, which are already only 40% of normal capacity. Prior to the war, Europe imported about 40% of its gas and 30% of its oil from Russia.

The Kremlin says the gas disruption is the result of maintenance issues and Western sanctions, while the European Union has accused Russia of energy blackmail. Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel had criticized the United States’s sanctions against Russia that target EU–Russia energy projects. Politicians in Europe have repeatedly said Russia could cut off gas this winter, a step that would thrust Germany into recession and hurt consumers already hit by soaring inflation. Moscow says it is not interested in a complete stoppage of gas supplies to Europe.

Adding to concerns on the energy front, the Ukrainian state pipeline operator company said Russian gas giant Gazprom without prior notice has increased pressure sharply in a pipeline that runs through Ukraine to deliver Russian gas to Europe. Such pressure spikes could lead to emergencies including pipeline ruptures, and pipeline operators are obliged to inform each other about them in advance, the Ukrainian company said. Gazprom could not be immediately reached for comment.

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