MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday said his country was a reliable energy supplier and blamed the West for disruptions on the market at an energy forum in Moscow.
After the Nord Stream pipelines connecting Russia to Europe were damaged by explosions, Putin said “the ball was in the EU’s court” to resume deliveries.
“If they want to, then the taps can be turned on and that’s it,” Putin said.
Moscow is “ready to start deliveries” through parts of the pipeline not affected by the leaks, he added.
The Russian leader also said the leaks were the result of “international terrorism” that would benefit the United States, Poland and Ukraine.
Ahead of the winter, European leaders have rushed to come up with a plan to tackle rising energy costs while maintaining sanctions on Russia.
More than half of the bloc’s members have pushed for a price cap.
But Putin said Russia “would not supply energy to the countries that limit their prices”.
Referring to the price cap, he said that “with their cavalier decisions, some Western politicians are destroying the global market economy and are in fact posing a threat to the well-being of billions of people”.
“Ordinary Europeans are suffering,” Putin also said, adding: “the population, like in the Middle Ages, has begun to stock up on firewood for the winter”.
Ahead of a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Putin proposed the creation of an energy hub in Turkey.
Russia could “move to the Black Sea region… its main route for the supply of fuel and gas to Europe through Turkey, creating the largest gas hub in Turkey”, Putin said.