During an economic forum in Vladivostok, the Russian president commented on the idea of a cap on the price of Russian hydrocarbons by Western countries, calling it “stupid”, promising retaliation if such a decision was taken.
Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened Wednesday, September 7 to stop all deliveries of hydrocarbons in the event of a price cap, while denying himself to use energy as a “weapon” against Europe which fears shortages. Last week, the G7 countries indicated that they wanted to implement a cap on the price of Russian oil “urgently”, encouraging a “broad coalition” of countries to participate in it, in retaliation for the offensive in Ukraine.
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On Wednesday, Vladimir Putin wanted to be clear: Russia will no longer deliver oil or gas to countries that cap the prices of hydrocarbons sold by Moscow. Capping the prices of Russian hydrocarbons would be “an absolutely stupid decision”, “a stupidity”, launched Vladimir Putin during an economic forum in Vladivostok (Russian Far East).
“If European countries want to give up their competitive advantages, it’s up to them to decide,” he warned. But “we will deliver nothing at all if it is contrary to our interests, in this case economic. Neither gas, nor oil, nor coal (…). Nothing”, he added, in a firm tone. . “We will not supply anything outside the framework of the contracts” signed with the importing countries, Mr. Putin again affirmed in front of several Russian and Asian economic leaders, castigating “those who try to dictate their own will to us”.
European countries must “come to their senses”
It is in this context of arm wrestling that Russia announced last week the closure of the valves of the Nord Stream gas pipeline, which serves Germany and several European countries, citing technical reasons. According to the Russian giant Gazprom, this prolonged interruption is due to the need to repair a gas pipeline turbine.
This decision reinforced the fears of European countries of a total cut off of Russian gas to the continent at the approach of winter and against a background of galloping inflation of energy prices.
On Wednesday, Valdimir Putin called on European countries to “come to their senses”, as voices are raised in the West to accuse Russia of using its gas as a means of pressure in the context of the conflict in Ukraine. Charges swept aside Wednesday by Vladimir Putin: “They say that Russia uses energy as a weapon. Another nonsense!”, He launched.
Moscow defends itself in particular by arguing that the sanctions against it for its offensive in Ukraine have caused a shortage of spare parts which threatens the integrity of Nord Stream. “Give us a turbine and tomorrow we will relaunch Nord Stream”, launched the Russian president to the address of the Europeans. “We are ready to (resume exports) tomorrow. All you have to do is push a button,” he said, recalling that it was not Russia that had “imposed sanctions “.
According to the Russian president, EU countries, faced with soaring energy prices, “have several solutions: either subsidize (these) high prices, (…) or reduce consumption”. “From an economic point of view, it’s okay. But from a social point of view, it’s dangerous. It can cause an explosion,” he warned. “It is better to respect contractual obligations, civilized rules,” argued the Russian leader. “It is impossible to harm ‘objective’ economic laws. Otherwise it will come back to you like a boomerang.”