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Kremlin vows not to cut gas supplies to EU

November 12, 2021

The Kremlin seemed to distance itself from a threat made by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko amid a standoff with the European Union.

 The view of the natural gas pipeline in Minsk suburbs, Belarus
Russia put distance between it and threats made by Belarus' leader to cut natural gas flows to EuropeImage: Maksim Malinoski/dpa/picture alliance

Kremlin spokesperson Dimitry Peskov on Friday assured that Russia will keep supplying gas to Europe.

A day earlier, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko threatened to cut off natural gas flows from Russia to Europe. The comment was in retaliation to possible EU sanctions over a standoff over migrants stranded on the Belarus-Poland border.

"This is a statement by the president of Belarus," Peskov said, noting that "Belarus is our ally, but it is a sovereign state."

"Russia has been, is and will remain a country that fulfills all obligations to provide European consumers with gas," he said.

"The reliability of Russia as a supplier under current and future contracts is beyond doubt."

Moscow delivers gas through Belarus to Poland via the Yamal-Europe pipeline.

How reliant is Europe on Russia's gas supplies?

A total of 41% of all the EU's natural gas imports come from Russia, according to the EU's Eurostat service.

In September, the last piece of the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline was put in place.

The new pipeline sparked concerns from the US as well as Ukraine that Moscow could use energy as a weapon.

Ukraine was additionally opposed to the project because it is set to miss out on billions in tax revenue for gas that presently flows through the country from Russia to Europe.

Why is the EU threatening new sanctions against Belarus?

For months, migrants have been trying to cross from Belarus into EU member Poland. Tensions escalated this week when Poland said it pushed back hundreds of migrants on its border with Belarus.

EU officials have accused Belarus of "weaponizing" the migrants in response to previous sanctions imposed against Minsk.

European Commission chief Ursula Von der Leyen earlier this week called on EU member states to "finally approve" an extended sanctions regime, which is now making its way through the bloc's internal procedures.

The new sanctions may encompass the scope of human trafficking, an EU diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity told DW.

The new sanctions package may also include measures against Belarusian airline Belavia and companies leasing aircraft to the firm, the diplomat said.

kmm/fb (Reuters, AFP)