By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
The move by Russia’s energy giant Gazprom added concerns that Moscow will force millions of Europeans to face a cold winter with gas prices souring. It comes amid East-West tensions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Dutchman Wouter van Dieren, who cofounded the Club of Rome policy pressure group and is a prominent Dutch thinker on environmental issues, isn’t surprised about Russia’s approach.
“Russia uses cold strategically. The country thinks in terms of the war against Napoleon or the Second World War when it allowed millions of soldiers to die in the cold, harsh winter,” he told the YouTube video service channel De Nieuwe Wereld (The New World).
Van Dieren urged the Netherlands to further open its natural gas reserve in the province of Groningen, the largest in Europe outside Russia, despite concerns about earthquakes caused by drilling in the area. “We are sitting on the biggest gas reserve in Europe. It would save us all,” he added. “We should adequately and fast compensate the people suffering from quakes without endless bureaucracy. Our responsibility to Europe is to show solidarity by sharing our natural gas.”
Gazprom says it halted gas flows through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany because of “a gas leak,” but it provided no time frame on when supplies would resume.
The company claimed the leak was found at the main gas turbine at the Portovaya compressor station near St Petersburg.
Additionally, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said Siemens Energy, a pipeline equipment supplier, could not carry out regular maintenance because of sanctions, charges denied by Western leaders.
Due to the standoff, European natural gas prices have soared, harming millions of households and the industry.
The European Union’s executive European Commission has argued in support of price caps on Russian natural gas to Europe. But Moscow has pushed back, warning that it could halt European sales altogether.
“We see that the electricity market does not work anymore. Because it is massively disrupted due to Putin’s manipulations,” said Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.