Reports suggest that Russia is set to resume gas supply to Europe via the Major pipeline, which was earlier closed for maintenance. There are also mounting concerns that Russia plans to use its vast energy export to mitigate Western sanctions on its invasion of Ukraine.
Following a 10-day maintenance break, the resumption of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline should kick off in slow capacity and could take several hours before the gas supply begins.
The Nord Stream 1 pipeline resumption is coming days after comments from Russia’s foreign minister indicate Moscow’s goal of expanding its invasion of Ukraine following five months of intensive fighting.
Speaking to state news agency RIA Novosti, Sergei Lavrov revealed that Russia’s military tasks will now expand beyond the eastern Donbas region. He added that Russia’s objective would expand further if the west continued to supply the Ukrainian government with long-range weapons such as the latest U.S. High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS).
Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov added that despite Moscow expanding its military objectives beyond the eastern Donbas region, it hasn’t closed the door on talks with Kyiv.
Europe unveils an action plan to manage the energy crisis
Following concerns that Moscow could stop gas supply to Europe via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, Europe rallied member states on Wednesday to cut gas supplies by 15% until March.
According to the EU Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, Russia is blackmailing the region. He added that the region must prepare for the worst-case scenario should Russia cut off gas flow to Europe.
A representative of Austria’s OMV stated that Russia’s Gazprom is set to deliver around 50% of agreed gas volumes via the recently opened Nord Stream pipeline, the same levels seen before the shutdown.
Russia has so far denied Western allegations of the country using its energy supply as a tool of coercion. The Kremlin added that it has been a reliable energy supplier and will not be distracted by such accusations. Regarding oil supply, Russia has made it categorically clear that it would not send supplies to the world market if a price cap is imposed below the cost of production.