Von der Leyen announced that the EU will propose a ceiling on the prices of Russian blue fuel
Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused EU countries of diverting all Black Sea grain to themselves and called for restrictions on its exports from Ukraine, Western media reported. Speaking at an economic forum in Vladivostok, the Russian leader said he would raise the issue with his Turkish counterpart Recep Erdogan, who is brokering the grain deal with the United Nations.
“We should probably think about restricting grain export destinations, and I will discuss this with Mr. Erdogan because he and I came up with this plan,” he added.
The agreement, reached in late July, offers relief to millions facing hunger around the world as a result of a spike in food prices due to the war in Ukraine, a major exporter of agricultural products.
Putin disputed this happening. “Excluding Turkey as an intermediary country, almost all grain exported from Ukraine,
it is not aimed at the poorest countries, but at the European Union”,
said the Russian leader. He explained that of the 87 ships sailing since the Black Sea deal, only two were sent to developing countries.
However, according to UN data, more than 20 vessels are headed for developing and least developed countries. Six are in Egypt as their final destination, while others are headed for Djibouti, Yemen and Sudan.
However, the Russian leader accused the West of “deceiving developing countries”.
“We must help the poorest countries first of all. That’s not happening right now. And I can tell you that this situation is the result of the reckless actions of the elites of the USA, Great Britain and the EU, who are working under political delusion”, believes the owner of the Kremlin. An adviser to the Ukrainian president accused him of making baseless statements, saying Putin was seeking to influence public opinion around the world and put pressure on the United Nations.
The Russian president also warned the West that he would continue to “freeze” if price caps were imposed on Russian oil and gas exports. According to him, European calls for such actions are foolish and would lead to higher world prices and economic problems in Europe. Putin threatened that Russia would withdraw from its supply contracts if the West imposed price caps, adding that Moscow would have enough customers in Asia.
“We will not deliver anything if it is against our interests, in this case economic. No gas, no oil, no coal, no fuel oil, nothing. Those who try to impose something on us are not able to dictate their will to us today. They must come to their senses”, the president was categorical.
Russia is the world’s second largest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia and the world’s largest exporter of natural gas and wheat. Europe typically imports about 40% of its blue fuel and 30% of its fuels from Russia.
If Putin completely stops supplies to Europe, that
will have devastating consequences for ordinary people,
as it will increase already inflated energy prices, experts note.
“The attempt to limit prices administratively is just delusion, pure stupidity. This will only lead to an increase in prices,” Putin is convinced.
On Wednesday, the European edition of “Politico” reported that the EU proposed a ceiling on the price of Russian gas of 50 euros per megawatt hour, which is less than 1/5 of the current spot price. This would be done by passing special laws, which were already used earlier this year to implement rationing measures in the EU, or by creating a single European gas buying company to negotiate with Russia.
However, Germany fears that Moscow may cut off gas supplies in response to the introduction of a price cap, which will affect central Europe, particularly the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania. This would require Berlin to share its blue fuel with other countries in line with EU rules, reducing its own reserves.
“We remain skeptical about the issues related to the gas price ceiling, but in general we are ready to negotiate in a European format,” said a representative of the German Ministry of Economy.
In turn, the head of the EC indicated that an upper price limit for Russian gas will be proposed.
“The goal here is very clear. We need to cut Russia’s revenues, which Putin is using to finance this brutal war against Ukraine,” urged Ursula von der Leyen. She pointed out that the EC will propose a mandatory target to reduce electricity consumption during peak hours.
EU energy ministers are due to meet on Friday to discuss how to respond to reduced gas supplies from Russia and rising prices that threaten to overwhelm businesses and consumers as demand rises over the winter.
The energy crisis facing Europe has become even more acute after Gazprom completely halted gas supplies through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany after it said it had discovered an engine oil leak.
Putin rejected Western claims that Moscow was using the blue fuel as a weapon to crush opposition to its invasion of Ukraine.