Russian Government Blames Western Sanctions For Pipeline Shutdown

(Photo by JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP via Getty Images)

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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A top spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed Western sanctions for the shutdown of a major natural gas pipeline on Monday.

“The problems pumping gas came about because of the sanctions western countries introduced against our country and several companies. There are no other reasons that could have caused this pumping problem,” President Vladimir Putin’s Spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying to the Russian outlet Interfax, according to Financial Times.

The Russian oil giant Gazprom announced on Sept. 2, that it would not restart gas flows through the NordStream 1 pipeline following several days of scheduled maintenance. Gazprom initially slowed deliveries by 60% in May, citing mechanical issues, according to the Associated Press. The company has repeatedly cut gas flows to Europe throughout the course of its invasion of Ukraine, leaving European countries with skyrocketing energy prices and rolling blackouts.

“Given that the sanctions remain in effect, given that they bring absolute confusion, both legal and practical, into what is associated with the maintenance of all units and machinery, we can now only pin our hopes on this one unit, that somehow we will be able to put it in order,” Peskov continued, according to a screenshot of the Interfax article posted by Moscow Corresponded for The Guardian, Andrew Roth.

“Certainly the very sanctions that prevent the units from being serviced, that prevent them from being moved without appropriate legal guarantees, that prevent these guarantees and so on, it is these sanctions that Western states have imposed that have brought the situation to what we are seeing now,” he added. (RELATED: ‘We Need To Be Honest’: Biden Suggest US Gas Prices Will Increase Because Of His Russia Sanctions)

In the aftermath of the invasion, the U.S., United Kingdom, and European Union sanctioned a bevy of Russian government officials, companies, and financial institutions. President Joe Biden sanctioned Gazprom, its main refinery, and the bank that holds its money on the first day of the invasion. Although the sanctions have harmed the Russian economy, they have also caused the ruble to increase in value amid rising energy prices, according to Reuters.

European nations, particularly Germany, became top customers of Russian natural gas as they turned to green energy and shut down nuclear power plants. German diplomats criticized former President Donald Trump’s repeated warnings about excessive Russian gas consumption, which he argued would make them “totally dependent” on Vladimir Putin.

German Economy Minister Robert Habeck announced Monday that the country would continue with plans to shut down its three remaining nuclear power plants by the spring of 2023, according to Focus. Germany is employing massive subsidies and tax breaks in an attempt to keep prices low.