Nord Stream 1: Russia shuts major gas pipeline to Europe
Russia has stopped supplying gas to Europe through a significant pipeline, claiming that repairs are required.
The restrictions on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline will continue for the next three days, according to Russian state-owned oil company Gazprom.
Russian gas exports via the pipeline have already been severely reduced.
However, it denies claims that it is utilising energy supplies as retaliation for Western countries’ implementing sanctions following the invasion of Ukraine.
The Nord Stream 1 pipeline runs 1,200 kilometres (745 miles) beneath the Baltic Sea from the Russian coast near St. Petersburg to northeastern Germany.
It started operating in 2011 and can transport up to 170 million cubic metres of gas per day from Russia to Germany.
Due to what Russia claims to be malfunctioning equipment, the pipeline has recently been working at just 20% capacity and was shut down for 10 days in July for repairs once more.
European leaders worry that Russia could prolong the outage to raise gas prices further—which have already increased significantly in the last year.
Over the winter, the sharp increase in living expenses raises the possibility that governments will be forced to spend billions of dollars to reduce the burden.
The spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, however, denied the charges and argued that the outages were the result of Western sanctions harming Russian infrastructure.
The most recent dispute involved a turbine that was fixed in Canada and sent to Germany, but which Russia refused to return because it was allegedly in violation of Western sanctions.
The pipeline is fully operating, according to Economy Minister Robert Habeck, who earlier this month denied any technical problems as alleged by Russia.
Ursula von der Leyen, president of the EU Commission, declared at a conference in Slovenia earlier this week that the energy markets are “no longer fit for purpose” and pledged to interfere.
The Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which parallels its namesake and costs €10 billion (£8.4 billion), was sanctioned by Germany before the crisis, but construction was put on hold after Russia launched soldiers into Ukraine in February.