On September 5, Russia dropped the pretense and announced that it was suspending the supply of natural gas through Nord Stream 1 while the European sanctions were in effect. The news is key as this is the main pipeline to countries in Western and Central Europe. And it shows that the supply of gas to Moscow was never just a trade, but a political weapon that is now being activated.
Russia was expected to make the move later in the fall when the heating season begins, but the earlier move means that the energy ring around Europe is not working properly in Russia’s favor for now. In recent days, it has become clear that many of the continent’s gas storages have passed the 80% level and will be ready to start the winter with almost full capacities. Additionally, Europe announced that it was discussing an oil price cap and other measures against inflation in the energy markets, which most likely prompted the Kremlin to turn off the faucet entirely.
The press secretary of the president of the Russian Federation, Dmitry Peskov, said that the only way for supplies to resume is if the West lifts its sanctions, which is clearly not going to happen. In a statement to the media, he also said that “the problems with natural gas pumping have arisen because of the sanctions imposed against Russia and against a number of companies from Western countries, including Germany and Great Britain.”
This claim only proves that all the technical problems related to the Nord Stream 1 gas turbines that have been announced by Gazprom over the past few months were intended to blackmail Europe. Thus, compared to last year, the quantities on the pipeline were successively reduced to 20%, and in recent weeks even to less, while now they will be completely stopped.