Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday denounced the “pressure” exerted against Gazprom in Europe, stressing that nationalizing Russian assets was “a double-edged sword”.
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“The situation in the energy field is worsening because of crude measures, which are not linked to the market, in particular the administrative pressure on our company Gazprom in several European countries”, he said on television, during a a meeting devoted to the agricultural sector.
“We are already hearing statements from official figures about the nationalization of some of our assets. We can go far like that. Let no one forget that this is a double-edged sword,” added Mr. Putin.
These comments come as Germany announced the day before taking temporary control of a German subsidiary of the gas giant, Gazprom Germania, in order to ensure the sustainability of gas supplies.
This decision came after the Russian group announced Friday its “withdrawal” from this subsidiary, without immediately indicating a buyer, creating a blur on the future of the company.
Gazprom’s subsidiaries are the operators of major gas and fuel storage infrastructures in Germany. Gazprom Germania in turn has several subsidiaries in the United Kingdom, Switzerland and the Czech Republic.
Russia and European countries are closely linked by their energy interdependence: Moscow needs its gas manna, when the EU is very dependent on Russian hydrocarbons.
This relationship has been under increasing pressure since the Russian offensive in Ukraine and the sanctions that hit Russia’s economy.
The EU says it seeks to reduce its dependence on Moscow, but in the meantime is reluctant to hit Russia’s energy sector with sanctions.
Moscow has for its part said to impose on European customers to pay their gas bills in rubles, even if in practice the billing is always in euros or dollars.
The Kremlin has also repeatedly stressed that Russia is a reliable exporter of hydrocarbons, and that supplies have not been affected either by the conflict in Ukraine or by the sanctions.
Putin wants to ‘monitor’ food exports to ‘hostile’ countries
Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed on Tuesday to “monitor” food deliveries to countries “hostile” to the Kremlin, in the midst of a wave of sanctions against Moscow with consequences for many agricultural sectors.
“This year, against the background of global food shortages, we will have to be more attentive to food deliveries abroad and monitor in particular the conditions of these exports to countries which carry out a hostile policy against us”, said Mr. Putin , during a meeting broadcast on public television.
The Russian leader also assured that national food production “fully” covers the country’s needs, both underlining the agricultural “potential” of Russia.
He also called for setting “clear objectives” to find substitute products after the suspension in Russia of many imports, linked to the sanctions.
On the agricultural and food level, many countries are suffering the consequences of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, two key suppliers of basic foods in the world, in particular cereals and sunflower oil.