Russia: Commentator calls for Putin to ‘turn gas off’
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The Russian President has over the course of this year exposed the EU’s huge dependence on Moscow’s gas, revealing his tight grip on the market with a series of supply cuts that have sent prices soaring. Russia’s state-owned energy giant gradually slashed deliveries both in the build-up to and during Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, and it has now completely cut off flows through the major Nord Stream 1 pipeline indefinitely.
As the bloc scrambles to cope with the deepening crisis that has seen bills shoot up for millions across the continent, Mr Zelensky has warned that this marks one of the most significant moments in the bloc’s history.
Speaking at the Yalta European Strategy meeting on Saturday, the Ukrainian President said: “There are 90 days ahead, which will be more crucial than 30 years of Ukraine’s independence; 90 days that will be more crucial than all the years of the existence of the European Union. Winter will determine our future and the risks.”
While the main pipeline to Europe has stopped sending Russia’s gas to Germany, Europe is still receiving some Russian gas via Turkey and Ukraine.
But Mr Zelensky expects that Russia could completely cut off the remaining supplies to the bloc, raising real concerns of supply shortages over winter, when demand will be higher.
He also urged European not to fall for the “illusion” that they could secure cheaper gas supplies in efforts to appease Putin.
It comes after Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned that gas flows through Nord Stream 1 would only restart if the West lifted sanctions on Russia.
Mr Zelensky pleaded with the EU not to compromise on its tough stance towards Putin by striking s supply deal.
He said: “We cannot afford to stop. This is my main message to anyone out there who is thinking about something.
“Even to some of the leaders that are pushing us somewhere, into someone’s inappropriate embrace. No, we cannot afford to stop.”
Meanwhile, EU leaders are also locked in a heated bust up as they debate whether to introduce a price cap on Russian gas imports, or include a cap on all gas imports.
Ministers representing nations across the bloc failed to agree on the matter at an emergency meeting held on Friday amid fears that Putin will completely slash all deliveries if a price cap is imposed.
Jozef Síkela, the Czech energy minister, who chaired the meeting, said: “We are in an energy war with Russia. Putin is trying, by manipulating the market, to break the social peace in our countries, affect our way of life and attack our economies.
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He added that the ministers needed to send “a clear message that will calm down the markets”.
But a civil war within the bloc is emerging as ministers disagree on how exactly the message to Putin should be sent.
A senior EU official said: “Everyone is afraid of the domino effect.
“If you cut off Russian gas only, you infuriate Russia without affecting other suppliers and if you are, say, Portugal who imports no Russian gas, what can you take back to voters?”
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