Putin: US partly to blame for European gas shortages
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday said the U.S. is partly to blame for the gas shortages Europe is currently facing.
Putin, during an interview with CNBC at the annual Russian Energy Week, said that while European countries bear part of the blame for the gas shortages, the U.S.’s decrease in supplies has been “the cause of panic.”
“You see, the problem does not consist in us, it consists in the European side, because, first, we know that the wind farms did not work during summer because of the weather, everyone knows that. Moreover, the Europeans did not pump enough gas into their underground gas facilities … and the supplies to Europe have decreased from other regions of the world,” Putin said.
“So we have increased our supplies but others, including the U.S., have reduced their supplies and this is the cause of the panic,” he added.
The Russian president said that while his country does have the means to provide more supplies, it “need[s] requests to do that.”
Putin’s comments come as Europe is facing a gas shortage, which has persisted for weeks.
He told CNBC on Wednesday that Europe should “not deal in blame-shifting” regarding the energy-related issues in the area. He also said the high prices are a result of European countries not making enough efforts to reload gas reserves over the summer months.
“Higher gas prices in Europe are a consequence of a deficit of energy and not vice versa and that’s why we should not deal in blame shifting; this is what our partners are trying to do,” Putin said.
“The European gas market does not look to be well-balanced and predictable,” he added, contending that the main driver of the unpredictability is that “not everything in this market depends on the producers. No lesser role is played by the consumers of gas.”
Putin also dismissed the notion that Russia may be weaponizing energy in efforts against Europe, adding that his country is prepared to assist the region with the energy issues.
“We are not using any weapons,” Putin said. “Even during the hardest parts of the Cold War Russia regularly has fulfilled its contractual obligations and supplies gas to Europe.”