Berlin accuses Russia of using energy ‘as a weapon’

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Mr Habeck said Germany was focusing on building up gas reserves to prepare for winter.

Berlin:

German Economy Minister Robert Habeck on Thursday accused Russia of using energy as “a weapon”, after Moscow announced sanctions against Western energy companies and a key pipeline was again seen a drop in gas deliveries to Europe.

“It must be said that the situation is getting worse, so that the use of energy as a weapon is now materializing in several areas,” Habeck told a press conference.

Russia on Wednesday issued a government decree imposing sanctions on 31 European, American and Singaporean energy companies in retaliation for Western sanctions following the invasion of Ukraine.

Most of the companies belong to the Gazprom Germania group of subsidiaries of Russian energy giant Gazprom.

The sanctions include a ban on transactions and the entry into Russian ports of vessels linked to the companies concerned.

Meanwhile, operators on Thursday reported a drop in gas supplies from Russia through a key Ukrainian pipeline to Europe for the second day in a row.

Germany, which is heavily dependent on Russian energy, said Wednesday’s 25% shortfall was covered by gas imports from Norway and the Netherlands.

Europe’s largest economy is racing to wean itself off Russian energy and has already almost completely phased out Russian coal.

But giving up Russian oil and gas will be more difficult.

With fears growing that Russia could abruptly shut off energy taps, Mr Habeck said Germany was focusing on building up gas reserves to prepare for winter.

“The gas storage facilities must be full by winter, otherwise we will be in a situation where we can easily be blackmailed,” he warned.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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