Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed Western sanctions for problems with gas supply to Europe through the Nord Stream-1 even as German Chancellor Olaf Scholz urged Moscow for a ceasefire and the complete withdrawal of troops from Ukraine, during a phone call held Tuesday.
Terming any attempts to blame Moscow for Europe’s energy woes as cynical, President Putin told Chancellor Scholz the problems with gas supply to Europe through the Nord Stream-1 pipeline had been caused due to Western sanctions on Moscow.
During his call with the German Chancellor, Putin stressed Russia has been and remains a reliable supplier of energy resources, fulfilling all its contractual obligations, adding “interruptions, are caused by anti-Russian sanctions that interfere with its maintenance,” Russian news agency TASS reported quoting a statement issued by the Kremlin.
The call between the two leaders comes at a time when there is growing pressure on Germany at home to give more weapons to Kyiv amid reports that Ukrainian troops have succeeded in driving Russian forces out of some parts of the country.
Germany, which had initially faced criticism due to its policy of not supplying lethal weapons to conflict zones, has since supplied Kyiv with much-needed material, including heavy weaponry.
Russia’s ambassador to Germany, Sergey Nechayev, had said in an interview Monday, “Germany crossed a red line, which it should not have crossed, when it started supplying Ukraine with lethal weapons of its own production.”
The ambassador was referring to “Germany’s moral and historical responsibility towards” Russians for Nazi crimes.
On his part, the German Chancellor, urged the Russian president to find a diplomatic solution to the war in Ukraine based on a ceasefire, a complete withdrawal of Russian troops and respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine.
A German government statement said given “the seriousness of the military situation and the consequences of the war in Ukraine,” the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz “urged the Russian President to find a diplomatic solution as soon as possible, based on a ceasefire, a complete withdrawal of Russian troops and respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine.”
“The chancellor stressed that any further Russian annexation moves would not go unanswered and would not be recognized under any circumstances,” the readout added.
Europe has been battling to mitigate the shock of what is being termed as an “energy war” with Russia, which has slashed gas exports to Europe after the West imposed sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine.
The energy crisis in the EU worsened at the beginning of July, when the first disruptions of gas supplies from Russia to a number of European states appeared. Russia has blamed these disruptions on technical and maintenance issues around the Nord Stream pipeline’s turbines.