Russia once again using gas as blackmail tool - European Commission

Russia once again using gas as blackmail tool - European Commission

Russia has once again shown it is ready to exploit gas supplies as a blackmail instrument, proving once again it is an unreliable energy supplier.

That’s according to a statement by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, issued following the announcement by Gazprom on the disruption of gas deliveries to certain EU Member States.

“The announcement by Gazprom that it is unilaterally stopping delivery of gas to customers in Europe is yet another attempt by Russia to use gas as an instrument of blackmail. This is unjustified and unacceptable. And it shows once again the unreliability of Russia as a gas supplier. We are prepared for this scenario. We are in close contact with all Member States,” the statement reads.

Von der Leyen noted that the European Commission has been working “to ensure alternative deliveries and the best possible storage levels across the EU.”

Read also: Yermak: Russia starts gas blackmail of Europe over rouble payment spat

In this situation, Member States have put in place contingency plans for just such a scenario and worked with them “in coordination and solidarity.”

A meeting of the gas coordination group is taking place on April 27, the statement says, adding that the participants are mapping out a coordinated EU response.

“We will also continue working with international partners to secure alternative flows. And I will continue working with European and world leaders to ensure the security of energy supply in Europe. Europeans can trust that we stand united and in full solidarity with the Member States impacted in the face of this new challenge. Europeans can count on our full support,” von der Leyen stressed.

As previously reported, Russia offered "unfriendly" European nations to pay for gas supplies in Russian roubles, but the Europeans refused, telling the Russians they must comply with existing contracts involving settlements in foreign currency. In turn, the Kremlin has threatened to completely sever gas supplies to Europe if the counterparts fail to meet Russian demands.

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