Russia’s energy giant, Gazprom, has agreed to send its gas deliveries to Europe via Ukraine. The company claims this is in line with what its European customers have requested, with daily volumes tallying in at 95 million cubic meters. But the announcement comes one day after Putin appeared to have unleashed his fury on Germany by suspending westbound gas flowing through a key pipeline.
Worrying data from the Poland-Germany border indicated that Moscow had suspended gas flowing through the Yamal-Europe pipeline.
The 2,500-mile-long pipe connects Russia with Poland and Germany, through Belarus.
The data showed that gas deliveries fell to just 939,809 kilowatt-hours per hour (kWh / h) from around 11.5 million kWh / h.
But now, the tone may have changed as Gazprom has suggested it is honoring the requests of its customers in Europe.
This also comes after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky suggested that peace talks with Russia had become more positive.
And that sentiment was echoed by Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who said he sees “some hope” for reaching a compromise in the negotiations over the Ukraine war.
The Kremlin said the compromise could involve a neutral Ukraine with its own army along like Austria or Sweden was being looked into.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “This is a variant that is currently being discussed and which could really be seen as a compromise.”
But Ukraine is yet to confirm whether it is willing to discuss neutrality, although it has said it is not willing to surrender or accept Russian ultimatums in negotiations to end the war.
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As Ukraine is a key transit country for Russia’s gas to reach Europe (a third passes through it on route), there were fears Russia’s war in Ukraine could seriously disrupt supplies.
But Russia has also been accused of deliberately withholding gas deliveries from Europe, which travels into the bloc through its vast network of pipelines.
This sparked concerns for gas shortages as the bloc relies on Russia for around 40 percent of its gas.
Last week Russia threatened to cut natural gas supplies to Europe via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline as part of its response to sanctions imposed over the invasion of Ukraine.
Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said that the Kremlin had the right to take actions that “mirror” the penalties imposed on the Russian economy, including the threat to completely scupper energy ties with Putin.
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Now, the EU has published an energy strategy that details how the bloc can permanently scupper energy ties with Russia.
The bloc is hoping to slash Russian oil and gas imports by up to two thirds by the end of the year, and permanently phase out these deliveries by 2030.
But for the time being, it appears as though Europe is still requesting energy imports from Gazprom amid the Ukraine crisis.
Although European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said that the EU will “will propose a big ban on new European investments across Russia’s energy sector”.
She added that the ban will “cover all investments, technology transfers, financial services, etc., for energy exploration and production – and thus have a big impact on Putin”.
The sanctions will be felt by Russia’s oil giants including Rosneft, Transneft and Gazprom Neft, who will face transaction bans.
But EU members can still buy their oil and gas.
Investment in other energy projects within Russia and run by other Russian companies, including Gazprom will also be banned.