Russian gas giant Gazprom announced on Saturday that it had halted gas supplies to Latvia, amid Russian-Western tensions over the conflict in Ukraine and unprecedented European sanctions against Russia.
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“Today Gazprom stopped gas supplies to Latvia […]due to violation of conditions for gas extraction,” the Russian company said in a statement to Telegram, without further details.
The announcement comes as Gazprom this week sharply cut Russian gas supplies to Europe via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, citing a need for maintenance as European countries struggle to replenish their reserves for the winter.
Russia has already cut its supply volume twice in June, saying the pipeline could not operate normally without a turbine that had been repaired in Canada and not returned to Russia due to sanctions imposed by the West following the Russian attack on Ukraine.
Since then, Germany and Canada have agreed to send equipment to Russia, but the turbine has yet to be delivered.
Westerners accuse Moscow of using the energy weapon in retaliation for sanctions adopted after an attack against Ukraine.
For its part, the Kremlin asserts that economic sanctions are at the origin of the technical problems of the gas infrastructure, and therefore that Europe will suffer from the measures imposed on Russia.
“The process of maintaining technical equipment is very difficult due to the economic sanctions adopted by Europe,” spokesman Dmitry Peskov said this week, while Gazprom “remains a credible guarantor of its obligations” and promised “the necessary and as much as was provided.” possible”.
Prevent shortage risk
Russia has been hit by several rounds of Western sanctions since its military intervention in Ukraine that began on February 24.
Russian gas exports to Europe, particularly Germany and Italy, have been steadily declining since the sanctions began. Gazprom cut gas supplies to several European customers who refused to pay in rubles.
Baltic states cut off Russian gas imports on 1R April, according to Latvian storage company Conexus Baltic Grid.
On Friday, Latvian natural gas trader Latvijas Gāze said it had resumed buying gas from Russia without specifying its suppliers and promising to pay for its supplies in euros.
According to official data released by Connexus, gas supplies to the Latvian gas pipeline increased sharply from July 21 before they were abruptly stopped on Friday.
Conexus confirmed to the Latvian news agency LETA that it had been informed that its supplies had been stopped by Gazprom, while confirming that other suppliers would follow suit.
“Latvia does not count on natural gas from Russia,” Economy Minister Ilse Indriksson told LETA.
Latvia imports liquefied natural gas from the world market using a terminal in the Lithuanian port of Klaipėda, while Baltic gas pipelines are connected to Polish and Finnish networks so that they are not supplied from Russia.
In an effort to stave off the risk of shortages this winter, the EU’s 27 members agreed on Tuesday a plan for each country to do “everything possible” to reduce its gas consumption by March 2023. Compared to at least 15% to the average of the last five years during the same period.
Russia accounted for 40% of EU gas imports until last year.