“Gas blackmail”: Ukraine accuses Moscow of using gas restrictions

Ukraine has accused Russia of waging a “gas war” against Europe and cutting supplies to inflict “terror” on people.

Russian gas giant Gazprom announced it is once again reducing gas flows into Germany to allow work on a turbine on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline.

Gazprom has sharply increased pressure in the pipeline that delivers Russian gas to Europe without prior notice, the Ukrainian state pipeline operator company has said.

Such pressure spikes could lead to emergencies, including pipeline ruptures, and pipeline operators are obliged to inform each other about them in advance, the Ukrainian company said.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said this was simply “gas blackmail” against Europe.

“The gas blackmail of Europe, which only gets worse every month, is needed by a terrorist state to make the life of every European worse,” said Zelensky in his nightly address.

He said it was deliberately intended to make it difficult for Europe to prepare for winter, without any care for the poverty people may suffer in the colder months as a result.

Gazprom’s announcement that it will further slash deliveries to Europe this week is politically motivated, the European Union’s energy policy chief has said.

The EU, which received 40% of its gas from Russia last year, has also accused Russia of using energy as a weapon.

“We know that there is no technical reason to do so. This is a politically motivated step, and we have to be ready for that. And exactly for that reason, the preemptive reduction of our gas demand is a wise strategy,” Kadri Simson said on her arrival at a meeting of EU countries’ energy ministers in Brussels.