Ukraine: Putin threatens to cut off Europe's gas supplies
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Europe has been scrambling to ditch its energy ties with Russia to sanction Putin, but currently imports a staggering 40 percent of its gas from the nation. And a third of that gas transits through Ukraine on its route into the EU. Data has revealed that scuppering these links is proving difficult for the bloc, which has imported the highest amount in over four months via Ukraine, according to Javier Blas, an energy and commodities analyst from Bloomberg.
Mr Blas wrote on Twitter: “Day 36 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Lots of talk of Putin shutting down gas flows into Europe.
“The reality? The highest flow of Russian gas into Europe via Ukraine in 4 months.
“Multiply that for the price, and lots of dollars, euros or rubles for Putin.”
This comes after Putin threatened to rip up gas contracts after demanding that “unfriendly” countries pay for gas in rubles.
But when EU countries rejected this demand, Putin blew his top.
The Russian President said in a televised conference on Thursday: “To buy Russian gas, they need to open rouble accounts in Russian banks.
“It is from those accounts that gas will be paid for, starting 1 April.
“If such payments aren’t made, we will consider this a failure by the client to comply with its obligations.”
Now, Putin has dampened down the threats and said he will not turn off the tap just yet.
That is because the Kremlin is still owed payments from the EU for deliveries due after April 1, which will come in the second half of this month and May.
According to the European Commission energy division director-general Ditte Juul Jorgensen, the EU is in discussions about how to pay the owed bills.
He said: “Working closely with the Member States and operators. EU coordination today to establish a common approach on currency payments for gas contracts with Russia
If Putin did turn off the tap, it would be a huge worry for Europe, which is likely not ready to completely go without Russia’s gas.
But its new energy strategy, REPowerEU, does detail how it can slash imports of oil and gas by up to two thirds by the end of the year.
Cutting gas overnight, however, could be concerning.
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Germany is one of the most reliant countries in the entire bloc, getting 40 percent of its gas from Russia.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on “Anne Will” on Sunday that if Russia’s gas was cut overnight, ”entire branches of industry would have to stop working”, triggering a “considerable economic crisis”.
But the country is bracing itself for slashed supplies from Russia as Putin’s threats send panic soaring, prompting possible gas rationing in Germany as a contingency measure.
Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck said: “We must increase precautionary measures to be prepared for an escalation on the part of Russia.
“With the declaration of the early warning level, a crisis team has convened.”
He added that supplies were being safeguarded, but warned that “every kilowatt-hour counts” in a plea to consumers and companies to limit consumption.
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