Russia’s state-owned energy firm Gazprom halted gas supplies via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Western Europe on Wednesday for three days, the company said.
The energy giant said that due to maintenance on Nord Stream 1, there would be no gas flow to Germany between August 31st and September 3rd. It said that there is “necessary” work at a compressor station that needed to be carried out after “every 1,000 hours of operation.”
Germany, which is heavily dependent on Russian gas, has accused Moscow of using energy as a “weapon.” Russia insists the disruptions are due to sanctions following its war on Ukraine.
When asked about the resumption of gas supplies, Russian government spokesman Dmitry Peskov said “there is a guarantee that, apart from technical problems caused by sanctions, nothing interferes with supplies.”
Western capitals “have imposed sanctions against Russia, which do not allow for normal maintenance [or] repair work,” he added.
Europe ‘on the brink of an energy crisis’ after Russia halts gas supply
After sanctions were imposed on Russia following Moscow’s “special military operation” in Ukraine, Russia also completely cut off supply to Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, and Poland and reduced flows via other pipelines.
“Putin is using energy as a weapon and has put Europe on the brink of an energy crisis with skyrocketing prices,” Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said.
This disruption comes at a time when the energy market is already strained, and wholesale gas prices have soared over four hundred percent since last August.
Earlier, Gazprom had stopped supply for ten days, citing maintenance efforts for Nord Stream 1 in July.
However, in contrast, current maintenance work was announced less than two weeks in advance and is being carried out by Gazprom rather than Nord Stream AG.
The reduced flows via Nord Stream are placing additional pressure on European countries as they race to fill vital gas storage facilities before winter, fearing Russia might halt flows altogether.
With winter looming, consumers in Europe are wary of huge power bills. Countries such as France have warned that rationing is a possibility.
EU leaders have appealed to citizens to cut down on their energy usage.
Many Europeans are voluntarily cutting their energy consumption, limiting their use of electrical appliances, and showering at work to reduce costs. European companies have also taken steps to slash their energy usage.