MOSCOW (Dispatches) - President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday said that systemic flaws in Europe’s energy sector are responsible for the current supply crisis, and Russia’s partners would be advised against trying to blame Moscow for gas shortages.
“The spike in gas prices in Europe was the result of a deficit of electricity, and not the other way around. And it’s not worth trying to lay one’s own fault at someone else’s door, as we say, and as some of our partners are attempting to do,” Putin said, speaking at the plenary session of the Russian Energy Week forum in Moscow.
“Stability and predictability are important for any market. Russia fully fulfills its contractual obligations to our partners, including those in Europe, and ensures the guaranteed, uninterrupted supply of gas to this region. All the preconditions exist to ensure that Russia hits a record in the delivery of gas to the global market by the end of this year,” Putin said.
Russian officials have repeatedly said over recent weeks that suppliers are fulfilling obligations under contracts with European buyers.
Moscow is not upping supplies available on the short-term spot markets, which the EU prefers, arguing it is more competitive.
Russia’s energy minister said earlier Wednesday that new contracts would be needed for increased deliveries to Europe.
“If there are requests, that will only be via the establishment of new contractual obligations,” Nikolai Shulginov said, describing Russia as a “reliable supplier”.
Putin said that Russia was “ready” to increase gas exports, claiming supplies were being increased by “as much as our partners are asking us”.
Russia, which supplies more than a third of European gas, has said a speedy launch of its Nord Stream 2 pipeline would help combat the surge in prices.
The Baltic Sea pipeline is set to double natural gas supplies from Russia to Germany.
But critics charge that the recently constructed pipeline would deprive Ukraine -- a key EU ally -- of transit fees.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky this week called on Europe to develop a “common long-term vision of Europe’s energy security”.
Moscow has also not booked additional gas transit capacity via Ukraine to Europe for October, raising concerns.
Russia denies it is pressuring customers, saying it needs to fill its own reserves for the winter before sending supplies on to Europe.
But European and UK gas prices surged last week to record peaks, energised by fears of runaway demand in the upcoming northern hemisphere winter.
The crisis has also been exacerbated by a lack of wind at turbine sites, coupled with ongoing nuclear outages -- and the winding down of coal power by climate-conscious governments.