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Russia: Deputy PM addresses European gas supply crunch

Speaking on state TV, Russia's deputy prime minister addressed Europe's gas supply crunch. Prices have increased 800% this year, which Russia blames on reserve shortfalls.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said European storage shortfalls are to blame for the gas supply crunch in Europe rather than Russia on Saturday

Alexander Novak, the deputy prime minister of Russia, addressed Europe's gas price increase Saturday on Russian state television channel Rossiya 1 in veiled terms.

Novak said Russia was prepared to increase supplies to Europe. However, he added Russia must top off its own reserves first.

Novak also urged the German government to commission the completed Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

He also commented on Europe's current gas price crunch, warning: "I do not rule out the possibility of such a situation repeating itself."

Novak called on EU leaders to negotiate.

"We are ready for dialogue," he said, adding that Europe's storage facilities appeared to be short 25 million cubic meters (880 million cubic feet) of gas. "Something should be done about this."

Speaking defensively, the deputy prime minister argued Russia was fulfilling its contractual obligations and said demand had even increased by 15% compared with 2020 on global markets.

Watch video 02:24

European energy prices skyrocket amid gas crunch

Russia has repeatedly rejected responsibility for Europe's sudden increase in gas prices.

President Vladimir Putin has assertedthat  the best way to address the sharp rise in costs is to rapidly commission the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

Russia has said it can make more gas available for the European markets but has yet to do so.

Though the Nord Stream 2 pipeline has been completed, German authorities have yet to issue an operating permit.

ar/csb (dpa, Reuters)