Follow RT on Contrary to Western claims, Russia isn’t looking to pressure foreign nations into doing its bidding as part of new energy deals struck to meet a growing shortfall in supplies across Central and Western Europe, Moscow has insisted.
In a fiery interview on Sunday, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova claimed that her country wasn’t looking to trade gas in exchange for political influence. “Look at what our Western partners are doing,” she said. “They are reshaping the global energy landscape by force to satisfy their interests if they’re unable to stand up to competition.”
“But,” she went on, “look at what Russia is offering.” In the case of gas exports, she insisted, “we are the only ones offering mutually beneficial projects.” The Nord Stream 2 pipeline, she said, is an example of where both the West and Moscow stand to gain, without either side having to give up anything.
Zakharova’s comments came as Russia’s state energy giant, Gazprom, announced it had started to increase the volumes of gas exported westwards across Europe, where a number of nations are in the throes of a supply crisis. According to the chair of the company’s board, Alexey Miller, the firm has topped up domestic reserves to shore them up for the coming winter and is now turning its attention to meeting growing demand elsewhere.
Moscow has previously been accused of choking off supplies to EU nations in an effort to put political pressure on some countries. As prices rose in recent months, US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said the bloc would have to “stand up when there are players who may be manipulating supply in order to benefit themselves,” arguing the crisis could be down to “manipulation.”
The US itself had previously sanctioned Nord Stream 2 in order to boost sales of its own liquified offering.
The Kremlin, however, insisted Gazprom was meeting all of its existing orders, and would be taking steps to ensure it could rapidly increase the volumes of gas reaching Western Europe if new contracts were signed for additional supplies.
President Vladimir Putin blamed the rise in prices, which have shot up by as much as 250% in some cases, on falling electricity output from wind farms. According to him, claims that Russia is ‘weaponizing’ energy supplies are “complete nonsense,” and he believes that “proper analysis of the situation is often replaced by empty political slogans.”
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