“We are not using any weapons.”
That was Russia President Vladimir Putin in an interview with CNBC on Wednesday, where he rejected the idea that his country had been withholding any gas supplies in Europe, which has been suffering shortages for weeks.
Putin made the comments at at a panel during Russian Energy Week, where he reportedly said Europe should avoid “blame-shifting”, and rather should focus on the fact those countries didn’t sufficiently fill gas reserves in the summer when they should have.
“The European gas market does not look to be well-balanced and predictable,” he said, but added that Russia was ready to help by cooperating with European partners and discuss any extra moves needed.
Separately, a spokesman for the Kremlin told reporters on Wednsday that Russia has increased its Europe natural gas supplies as much as possible, and any further increases will need to negotiated with Gazprom.
“We can say that Russia is flawlessly fulfilling all contractual obligations under the upper bar, that is, to the possible maximum, all volumes of supplies have been increased in the light of the contracts and agreements that exist,” said the press secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov, according to a report on Russian news agency Tass.
He said any extra supplies beyond what is contracted would be a “question of negotiations with Gazprom.” Some have accused Russia of using natural gas supplies as a weapon to try to speed up EU approval of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which has faced pushback from those such as Ukraine, and the U.S. that worry it will make Europe too dependent on Russian supplies.
Europe natural gas prices, which are around six times higher than they were at the start of 2021. November Title Transfer Facility (TTF) natural gas futures in the Netherlands — the European benchmark — rose 6% to 91.61 euros per megawatt hour (MWh) on Wednesday. U.K. natural gas prices
which have also exploded higher this year, were up over 7% to 245.10 pence a therm.