Russia has never used energy as political tool: Kremlin
Russia has never used energy as a tool of political pressure, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on July 22, responding to comments made by Germany and US when announcing an agreement earlier this week on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
Germany and the US announced a deal on July 21 that would allow the Nord Stream 2 to go ahead, but they vowed to punish Russia if it used the pipeline as a political weapon. The pair said they were "steadfast in their support for Ukraine's sovereignty, territorial integrity, independence and chosen European path," and were "united in their determination to hold Russia to account for its aggression and malign activities by imposing costs via sanctions and other tools."
Peskov said the Kremlin welcomed the deal, but reject accusations of Russian aggression.
"We categorically disagree with this wording. Neither in Ukraine nor elsewhere beyond its borders has there been any aggression by Russia," Peskov said. "Russia has not engaged in any harmful actions."
He also stressed that Moscow remained a responsible guarantor of Europe's energy security and had never used "energy resources as an instrument of political pressure."
The Kremlin is also prepared to discuss the continuation of gas transit via Ukraine beyond 2024, Peskov said, but added that Russia wants to see signs from Ukrainian authorities that they are willing to provide "economically acceptable conditions" for transit. Russia's Gazprom has recently been avoiding booking additional transit capacity in Ukraine beyond the contractual amount, complaining that the terms are not favourable.
Russia is hopeful that Nord Stream 2 will be completed in August and begin flowing its first gas later this year.