Russia has denied using natural gas exports as a tool to “blackmail” Europe, a claim voiced by the European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen. Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the switch to gas trade in rubles stems from the EU’s own actions.
“This is not blackmail. Russia has been and remains a reliable supplier, committed to its obligations. The conditions that were outlined in the presidential decree, the need for them was caused by unprecedented hostile steps against us,” Peskov stated, adding that the decision was communicated to natural gas buyers long before it took effect.
Earlier on Wednesday von der Leyen accused Moscow of using natural gas trade as a “blackmail” tool following Gazprom’s decision to halt exports to Poland and Bulgaria. The EU Commission president described the move as “unjustified and unacceptable,” adding that it highlighted the “unreliability of Russia as a gas supplier.”
“The announcement by Gazprom that it is unilaterally stopping delivery of gas to customers in Europe is yet another attempt by Russia to use gas as an instrument of blackmail,” she stated.