Russia threatens to cut Nord Stream 1 gas supply to Germany amid sanctions
Russia has threatened to stop pumping natural gas into Germany (and the rest of Europe) via the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, in retaliation against the government’s decision to suspend the Nord Stream 2 approval process, and calls to include Russian gas and energy exports in western sanctions.
Russia threatens to cut Nord Stream 1 gas supply to Europe
For the first time since the start of the invasion of Ukraine, Russia has issued an open threat to stop delivering gas to Germany via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which supplies the whole European continent.
According to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, such an embargo would be justified given the “unfounded allegations against Russia regarding the energy crisis in Europe and the ban on Nord Stream 2.” He added, “We have every right to make a “mirror-fair” decision and impose an embargo… Europe currently consumes 500 billion cubic metres of gas per year, 40 percent of which is secured by Russia.”
Although a decision is yet to be made, Novak said that Russia was being pushed in that direction by politicians’ “statements and accusations against Russia.” In recent weeks, EU leaders have been hotly debating the bloc’s reliance on Russia for gas and oil supplies. Calls have been growing for western allies to impose oil and gas embargoes on the Kremlin, to strike a key source of income for Russia.
Germany against embargoes on Russian gas and oil
However, on Monday evening a number of leaders came out against such demands. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz emphasised that Europe was too dependent on Russian supplies to suddenly halt imports. Although he said he supported tough sanctions against the Kremlin, he maintained that Russian energy supplies were “essential” for Europe.
He was supported by the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. Johnson said that curbing reliance on Russian imports was “the right thing to do”, but that it would be a lengthy “step by step” process. Rutte also emphasised the “painful reality” that Europe was “very much dependent” on Russian supplies.
For this reason, Scholz said, Europe “deliberately exempted Russian energy supplies from sanctions,” since the supply of energy for heating, mobility, power supply and industry cannot currently be secured in any other way.
Germany and other EU countries have been working “at full speed” for several months to develop alternative sources of energy and reduce reliance on the Kremlin, Scholz added. Last week, the federal republic announced the development of a new LNG terminal on the North Sea coast, and a slowdown of plans to phase out coal.