Putin ‘playing chicken’ with gas supplies as Russian economy
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Reports of the EU looking to impose a price cap on Russian gas led to Putin giving a fiery speech where he threatened to cut off all energy supplies. Cutting off all energy supplies to the fuel-starved continent would be devastating, and could result in rationing of supplies and even higher prices. Giving a speech in Vladivostok, the Russian leader highlighted this control over Europe, warning of a bleak winter if the Kremlin stopped flows.
Speaking at the Eastern Economic Forum, he said: “Will there be any political decisions that contradict the contracts?
“Yes, we just won’t fulfil them. We will not supply anything at all if it contradicts our interests.
“We will not supply gas, oil, coal, heating oil — we will not supply anything. We would only have one thing left to do: as in the famous Russian fairy tale, we would let the wolf’s tail freeze.”
“Those who are trying to impose something on us are in no position today to dictate their will. They should come to their senses.”
In an effort to curb the soaring prices, the European Commission is now proposing plans to approve a broad price cap on Russian gas, along with mandatory cuts in electricity use, and a tax on oil and gas companies.
Speaking after Putin’s threat to block supplies, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “We must cut Russia’s revenues which Putin uses to finance this atrocious war against Ukraine.”
Last year, Europe imported about 40 percent of its gas and 30 percent of its oil from Russia.
Last week, the Group of Seven (G7) wealthy democracies announced plans to impose a price cap on Russian oil exports, which could restrict Russia’s ability to secure tankers and insurance from countries beyond the G7.
However plans to impose a price cap on Russian gas have been a major sticking point in the EU, with member states reportedly having “very contradictory views”.
According to POLITICO, Germany notes that it is “sceptical” about the idea, while, Hungary, which is Russia’s closest ally in the EU, is against the plan and is supported by Slovakia and at least two other countries.
These plans come as Norway, the UK’s biggest supplier of gas, signalled that is willing to discuss long-term gas agreements and price caps to help ease the energy bills in the UK.
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Norway’s exports have surged since the EU began weaning itself off Russia, and the country is now facing pressure to do more to help European countries that face the risks of blackout and recession.
Jonas Gahr Store, Norway’s prime minister, said: “I fully understand that Europe now has a profound debate about how energy markets work, how they can secure more affordable prices for citizens, families, industries, and how this shortfall of gas after Putin’s aggression can be handled.”
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