German minister: Russian gas stop is an attack

Putin is trying to sow chaos in Europe by closing gas spigots or reducing supply, says economy minister.

German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action Robert Habeck calls Russia's reduced gas supply an "attack". | Photo: Michele Tantussi/REUTERS / X03942

Gazprom only allowing natural gas to flow westward in limited volumes for the time being constitutes an ”attack”, says German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action Robert Habeck during an industry conference Tuesday.

”Reducing gas supply via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline is an attack against us – an economic attack against us,” Habeck states.

Last week, the Russian gas company announced that it would reduce gas volumes to Germany through the pipeline.

Russian officials attribute the measure to necessary repairs that have been postponed until now, but Berlin calls the decision ”political”.

Habeck says Russian President Vladimir Putin is using gas as a weapon and is trying to ”create chaos” by withholding gas from one European country after the other.

In consequence of Gazprom limiting supply, Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands have all revived old coal-fired power plants to ensure energy sufficiency.

Habeck, from the German Green Party, is cited by news agency dpa as calling such measures ”really bad news”. However, the minister adds that using coal is a necessary evil for saving natural gas replenishing stockpiles.

Germany seeks to fill its gas inventories to 90% capacity before winter as a precaution if Russian supply remains unreliable.

”Entering winter with half-full gas stockpiles and closed pipelines will trigger a difficult economic crisis in Germany,” Habeck warns:

”We’ve seen this pattern several times now.”

(Note: Habeck citations translated from Danish, edited for style and length)

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