Responsibility for the situation in the European gas market, where prices have soared by 600% since the beginning of the year, and on Wednesday approached $ 2,000 per thousand cubic meters, lies on officials of the European Commission, said Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"The practice of our European partners once again showed that, in fact, they made mistakes. We spoke with the European Commission of the previous composition. All its activities were aimed at curtailing the so-called long-term contracts in order to the transition to exchange trade in gas. It has become absolutely obvious that this policy is erroneous," Putin said at a meeting on energy development.
"Vanity and lack of focus", according to Putin, gave rise to serious imbalances in the European gas market, due to "several unfavorable factors."
“The economy recovered from the crisis, which increased demand; gas reserves declined due to the cold winter; wind energy generation fell due to lack of wind,” Putin said.
"It should be noted that over the past ten years the energy balance in Europe has changed dramatically. Many countries in the region have abandoned coal and nuclear power production in favor of weather-dependent wind energy," he added.
Putin did not mention another factor. The Russian gas giant Gazprom has been reducing gas supplies to the European Union since July. At the same, time Putin said Gazprom fulfills all its contractual obligations. And, according to Putin, it does not have to increase supplies above what is stipulated in long-term contracts.
Since September, Gazprom, refused to book additional volumes theough the Ukrainian gas transit system, reducing gas delivery through Ukraine by 12%.
It will be “unprofitable” now to increase supplies on the Ukrainian route, Putin said. He added that Russia has been and remains a reliable supplier of gas.
Gas prices in the EU began to rise in the beginning of the year due to increasing demand and reduced supply of liquefied gas, which fell by almost 20%. LNG was being shipped to Asia, where prices are traditionally higher.
Gazprom began reducing deliveries of gas to Europe in the summer, when the fate of the completed, but not certified Nord Stream-2, hung in the air.
In July, according to the Russian Federal Customs Service, Gazprom reduced supplies by 10% compared to June. In August it sharply reduced gas delivery through the Yamal-Europe pipeline, and then stopped selling gas through electronic auctions on the same day that the Dusseldorf court refused to exempt Nord Stream 2 from the norms of the third EU energy package.
In September, Gazprom reduced gas transit through Ukraine, and in October it reduced gas deliveries through the Yamal-Europe pipe by three times.
On Tuesday, five EU countries, including France and Spain, called for an investigation into the record rise in gas and electricity prices.
On Wednesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia has absolutely no role in the European gas crisis.