Putin says West is shifting blame for own energy policy failings onto Russia
Russian president Vladimir Putin has accused the West of shifting blame for its own mistakes in energy policy onto Russia, attributing the cause of the energy crisis unfolding in Europe to the continent's overreliance on intermittent renewable energy.
Poor performance at renewable energy plants over the past year has been a contributing factor to the energy crisis in Europe, which has seen gas and power prices soar to record heights, prompting some industries to close and governments to consider restoring some coal-fired power generation. But a greater cause has been Russia's drastic reduction in gas flow to the continent, which European leaders say is an attempt to destabilise the energy market and force concessions in the Ukraine conflict.
The Russian leader was speaking after holding talks with his Iranian and Turkish counterparts Ebrahim Raisi and Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Tehran on July 20. The trip was aimed at shoring up friendly relations with the two countries, and pushing back against the international isolation that the US and its Western allies have imposed on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
The visit resulted in a memorandum of understanding being signed by Russia's state gas supplier Gazprom and the National Iranian Oil Company on strategic cooperation. Under the document, the two companies will look at potential cooperation in developing oil and gas fields in Iran, the exchange of natural gas and oil products and construction of the large and small-tonnage LNG plants and gas pipelines, as well as scientific, technical and technological cooperation.
Speaking after the talks, Putin noted that the shelved Nord Stream 2 pipeline could still be launched to supply gas to Europe, but reiterated that some of its onshore capacity in Russia would be used to provide gas to consumers in northwest Russia. He also said that Ukraine had closed some of its capacity to transit Russian gas to Ukraine for political reasons. Kyiv declared a force majeure on the transit of Russian gas entering Ukraine at the Sokhranivka border point in mid-May, blaming a disruption caused by the actions of Russian troops and their rebel proxies.
Poland is still relying on Russian gas supply indirectly from Germany, Putin said. The country had its direct Russian gas deliveries cut off in late April after Warsaw refused to comply with the Kremlin's decree requiring payment for supplies in rubles.