Shafaq News / The head of Russian energy giant Gazprom says that Moscow plays by its own rules after cutting gas deliveries to Germany and Italy.
"Our product, our rules. We don't play by rules we didn't create," Aleksei Miller said on June 16 during a panel discussion at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
The day before, Gazprom cut its natural-gas deliveries to Germany after saying Germany's Siemens had delayed the repair work of compressor units at a station on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. Berlin slammed the move as "political" and a pretext to sow uncertainty and drive up prices.
"Of course, Gazprom is reducing the volume of gas supplies to Europe," Miller said, pointing out that prices have increased several fold.
Russian gas supplies to Europe through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which runs under the Baltic Sea to Germany, fell further on June 16. The latest move cuts supply to 40 percent of the pipeline's capacity.
Italian energy giant Eni also reported problems, saying on June 16 that it will receive only 65 percent of the gas requested from Gazprom.
Italy's Ecological Transition Minister Roberto Cingolani said that the reasons behind the Russian gas cut could include the intention by Moscow to exert "political pressure or a manifestation of retaliation."
The shortfall coincided with a visit to Ukraine by the leaders of France, Germany, Italy, and Romania. The leaders met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Kyiv and afterward backed “immediate” EU candidate status for Ukraine.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said the reductions in supply were related to maintenance issues.
Poland, Bulgaria, Finland, Denmark, and the Netherlands have had their natural-gas deliveries suspended since Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine in February. Moscow has lost several European gas clients after it demanded that all "unfriendly" countries pay for Russian natural gas in rubles in response to Western sanctions.
EU countries have reduced their purchases of Russian energy but are divided about imposing a natural-gas embargo as several member states are heavily reliant on Russian energy supplies.