Russia's Gazprom to cut flows through gas pipeline to Germany to a fifth of capacity

July 26, 2022
EU countries bracing for further cuts in Russian gas supply approved a weakened emergency plan to curb demand, after striking compromise deals to limit reductions for some countries.

BRUSSELS   EU countries bracing for further cuts in Russian gas supply approved a weakened emergency plan to curb demand, after striking compromise deals to limit reductions for some countries, Reuters reported July 26.

Europe faces a tighter gas squeeze today, when Russia's Gazprom said it would cut flows through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany to a fifth of capacity.

With a dozen EU countries already facing lower Russian supplies, Brussels is urging member states to save gas and store it for winter, fearing Russia will completely cut off flows in retaliation for sanctions over the Ukraine war.

Energy ministers approved a proposal for all EU countries to voluntarily cut gas use by 15% in the August-March period from the average from 2017-2021. 

The cuts could be made binding in a supply emergency, provided a majority of EU countries agree. But members agreed to exempt numerous industries from the binding 15% cut. 

German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said the agreement would show Russian President Vladimir Putin that Europe remained united. "You will not split us," Habeck said.

Hungary was the only country that opposed the deal, two EU officials said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Russia was cutting supplies to impose "price terror" against Europe.

"Using Gazprom, Moscow is doing all it can to make this coming winter as harsh as possible for the European countries. Terror must be answeredimpose sanctions," he said in a video address on July 25.

Gazprom has blamed its latest reduction on needing to halt operation of a turbine. EU Energy Chief Kadri Simson dismissed that reason, calling the move "politically motivated."

Simson said the agreement should ensure countries save enough gas to survive an average winter if Russia fully cut supplies now, but an unusually cold winter would require more severe measures.

Russia supplied 40% of EU gas before it invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.

Black Sea missile attacks

The first wheat export ships from Ukraine may set sail in days under a deal agreed on Friday, the UN said, despite a Russian missile attack on the Ukrainian port of Odesa over the weekend, and a spokesman for the military administration saying another missile had hit the Odesa region on the morning of July 25.

Russia's Black Sea fleet has blocked grain exports from Ukraine since Moscow's Feb. 24 invasion. Moscow blames Western sanctions for slowing its food and fertilizer exports and Ukraine for mining the approaches to its ports.

Under Friday's deal, pilots will guide ships along safe channels through the naval minefields.

The Ukrainian military reported Russian cruise missile strikes July 25 in the south and said Ukrainian forces had hit enemy targets. Serhiy Bratchuk, a spokesman from the military administration in Odesa, told a Ukrainian television channel that a missile fired from the direction of the Black Sea had struck the region, but gave no information on casualties.

East of Odesa along the Black Sea coast, port infrastructure at Mykolaiv was damaged by an attack, according to the mayor Oleksandr Senkevich.

Russia's defense ministry did not immediately reply to an out-of-hours request for comment.



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