In the continuing Ukraine conflict, Vladimir Putin allegedly shut off vital Gazprom gas supplies to Germany, according to a new report.
As a result of the sanctions imposed by the West over Ukraine, Germany has halted the Nord Stream 2 Baltic gas project, which would quadruple the supply of Russian gas directly to Germany.
Gazprom Germania GMBH and all of its assets, including Gazprom Marketing & Trading Ltd, were shut down by the Russian gas provider. But it gave no further information or explanation.
Reuters quoted Katja Yafimava of the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies: “I think this means Gazprom is drawing a curtain on being an active participant in the European gas market. Essentially it is going home because it no longer feels welcome.
“I think Gazprom understands it is going to face a hostile political and regulatory environment in Europe and therefore wants to consolidate and conduct all of its business in one place – St Petersburg, most likely with the political support of the Russian government.”
The decision comes a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a regulation requiring gas purchasers from nations Moscow deems hostile to pay in rubles.
Vladimir Putin threatened “unfriendly” nations, including all EU members, with gas cuts unless they established ruble accounts to pay for delivery.
Mr Putin remarked on state television: “They must open rouble accounts in Russian banks.
“It is from these accounts that payments will be made for gas delivered starting tomorrow, April 1.”
He continued: “If such payments are not made, we will consider this a breach of obligations on the part of our buyers with all the ensuing consequences.”
Germany and France called Vladimir Putin’s demand that international gas buyers pay in rubles a violation of contract and a form of “blackmail.”
Germany’s Economy Minister, Robert Habeck, said his country was ready for every situation, including a Russian gas embargo.
Stating: “It is important for us not to give a signal that we will be blackmailed by Putin.”