An open conflict over European countries’ reliance on Russian gas and oil has been smoldering for months – and now it is likely to get worse. Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced his intention to shift energy exports to the south and east. He also complains about defaults caused by western banks.
“Energy supplies to the West will decline,” Putin said at a cabinet meeting. Instead, “the fast-growing markets in the south and east are being served step by step”.
Will Putin put an embargo in advance?
Russia must continue in the direction it took years ago, Putin said at the televised meeting on energy shifts. At present, Russia continues to supply oil and natural gas to Europe, Russia’s main market.
However, a possible gas embargo against Russia is currently being discussed in the EU. So far this has failed, partly due to Germany, as the Federal Republic is mainly dependent on Russian gas. A coal embargo, on the other hand, has already been announced by the EU, the US and Japan.
Putin complains about ‘defaults’
Against the background of European discussions, Putin also warned of an embargo on Russian gas and oil: “The consequences of such a move could be very painful – especially for the initiators of such a policy.”
“The banks from these extremely unfriendly states are blocking the transfer of payments,” Putin also accuses the West of defaulting. For about two weeks, Russia has only been accepting payments in rubles for gas deliveries. “There are defaults in the export supplies of Russian energy resources,” Putin said.
West to destabilize market
“European countries are constantly talking about cutting off Russian supplies and in doing so they are destabilizing the market and driving up prices,” Putin said. Attempts by Western countries to “squeeze out Russian suppliers and replace our energy resources with an alternative supply will inevitably weigh on the entire global economy.”
Chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP), meanwhile, reported that Putin had assured him in a personal meeting that gas would continue to be supplied. Putin himself had tackled the gas problem and stated that Russia would stick to the existing contracts, which also included payments in euros.
I’m Wayne Wickman, a professional journalist and author for Today Times Live. My specialty is covering global news and current events, offering readers a unique perspective on the world’s most pressing issues. I’m passionate about storytelling and helping people stay informed on the goings-on of our planet.