Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine has resulted in unprecedented costs for the West, especially in terms of skyrocketing energy prices.
Europe, which is heavily dependent on Russia for gas, has been especially vulnerable, and these vulnerabilities have recently been even more egregiously exploited by Putin.
Specifically, Gazprom, the Russian energy giant, announced that it would be slashing additional natural gas flows to major pipelines in Europe, reducing capacity to only 20 percent.
This decision further amplifies tensions regarding dwindling energy supplies, and the timing is especially problematic as nations attempt to store up energy supplies for the winter.
However, Gazprom declared that it would be reducing “the daily throughput” passing through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany to just 33 million cubic meters.
The reason for the reduction is ostensibly to close down a second turbine for repairs, with the head of Germany’s network regulator, Klaus Mueller, confirming the reduction.
“The halving of the nomination of NordStream1 was announced for the day after tomorrow,” Mueller declared on Twitter.
As of July 25, deliveries had been resumed at 40 percent of full capacity, following ten days of the Nord Stream 1’s closure for scheduled maintenance.
However, the capacity has been abruptly reduced yet again, though Germany argues “no technical reason” should exist for reducing deliveries.
According to the German economy ministry, the nation is “monitoring the situation very closely in close exchange with the federal network agency and the gas crisis team,” observing that “there is no technical reason for a reduction in deliveries.”
Over the past several months, Russia has either reduced or cut off natural gas to a dozen nations across Eastern Europe.
Various nations are attempting to use less gas now in order to build up storage for winter, suggesting that other states slash their gas usage by at least 15 percent in the next several months.
The European Union (EU) is also even contemplating the imposition of mandatory cuts across the entire region if a risk of severe gas shortages emerges.
These decisions have attracted the ire of some nations, with Portugal and Spain indicating that they would reject mandatory cuts, especially since their gas usage falls far below the usage of nations such as Italy or Germany.
Currently, Germany accounts for approximately one-third of Russia’s gas exports.