Europe is to blame for gas price hike: Putin
Members of the European Union have been selling cheap Russian gas at high prices, resulting in a price hike in Europe.
On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the European Union can only blame its own policies for record gas prices, as some of its members resell cheap Russian gas at much higher prices within the bloc.
Putin called on the EU to agree to a novelty route for Russian gas - the Nord Stream 2 pipeline - to cut prices down.
Gas prices in Europe hit a new record on Tuesday, reaching almost 800% so far this year. Although prices decreased on Friday, it is still up over 400%.
The US, in addition to some eastern European countries, stand against the Nord Stream 2 pipeline coming into effect, contending that the line would increase Europe's dependence on Russian gas, which provides 35% of the bloc's gas demands. Germany and Belgium are yet to approve the pipeline, which was built in September.
"The additional gas supplies on the European gas market would surely reduce the price on an exchange, on the spot (market)," Putin said.
According to Gascad, which is a German operator, the Yamal-Europe pipeline which pumps Russian gas to western Europe had gas flowing in the opposite way for the fourth day in a row on Friday, which adds pressure, since the line pumps fuel from Germany to Poland.
Putin argues that Warsaw has obstructed Russia from operating the Yamal-Europe pipeline, which operates from Russia to Belarus, to Poland then to Germany.
Moscow is blamed by Kiev
Ukraine, on the other hand, has recently blamed Moscow for gas shortages.
Ukraine has announced it filed a complaint with the European Commission against Gazprom, accusing the Russian gas giant of deliberate gas shortage resulting in historically high prices.
Naftogaz accuses Gazprom of sharply reducing the sale of its gas on the European market while freezing supplies from other Russian organizations, preventing the flow of gas from Central Asia through Russia to Europe, and committing a direct breach of European anti-monopoly law.
Approval on hold
When it came to the other Russian competitor, Nord Stream 2, the German energy regulator said in November it was temporarily putting the approval process for the Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline on hold, under the pretext that the company operating the pipeline must first become compliant with German law.
Germany's move constitutes the latest setback for the Russian energy project, as Western powers have tried to impede it many times in the years since its establishment.