The EU authorities are wrong to blame Russia for energy shortages, President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday, speaking at the Russian Energy Week forum.
“Ordinary Europeans suffer. Their electricity and gas bills have more than tripled in one year. The population, just like in the Middle Ages, has begun to stockpile firewood for the winter. What does this have to do with Russia? They are constantly trying to blame their own mistakes on someone else, in this case Russia. It’s their own fault, I want to stress that,” Putin said.
He noted that the energy crisis does not stem from the after-effects of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, but is “the result of an erroneous policy in the field of energy for a number of previous years.” For instance, he criticized the spot pricing mechanism which is used in the EU. According to Putin, the bloc may lose up to 300 billion euro on spot pricing this year alone, or about 2% of the Eurozone’s GDP, which could have been avoided if Brussels chose long-term oil-linked contracts for gas imports instead.
The President stressed that Russia is ready to supply energy to the region, including this fall and winter, via the surviving string of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Its capacity is 27.5 billion cubic meters per year, which is about 8% of all the EU’s gas imports. The pipeline has been ready for usage since last year, but bureaucratic setbacks and anti-Russia sanctions have so far prevented it from starting gas deliveries.
“Russia is ready to start delivering these supplies. The ball is on the side of the EU, as they say. If they want it – let them just open a tap, that’s all. We do not limit anything, we are ready to supply additional volumes in the autumn-winter period,” the president said.
Putin warned again, however, that Russia will not act against its own interests and supply energy to countries that set a price cap on its produce.
“I would like to tell those who prefer using tricks and unscrupulous blackmail instead of business partnerships and market mechanisms… that we will not act to our disadvantage. Keep that in mind,” the president said.