Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak warned on Monday that his country could stop supplying natural gas to Germany through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, in “reciprocal” response to the sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Novak said in a televised speech, however, that no decision has yet been made on the pipeline, which is operating “at full capacity.”
Regarding the possible embargo of Russian oil that Washington and its allies are considering, Novak stressed that this measure would have “catastrophic consequences for the world market”, where a barrel is already paid at more than 300 dollars.
In addition, Novak assured that Russia has options to redirect the oil. “If you want to turn down energy supplies from Russia, you can do whatever you want. We are ready. We know where we can redirect this volume. The only question is who benefits from this and why is it necessary,” he said.
Novak, born in Soviet Ukraine and in charge of the energy sector in Vladimir Putin ‘s government , warned that “attempts to start talks on an embargo undermine market fundamentals, create uncertainty and cause significant damage to consumers.”
“Russia has fully complied with all its obligations to date and all requests have been met, shipments of oil and derivatives are developing as planned. However, we are concerned about the discussions and statements about the possibility of imposing an embargo” , he claimed.
In addition, Novak denounced “great pressure” on Russia’s partners, on merchants, carriers, banks and financial institutions.
The chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz , acknowledged on Monday the importance of the Russian gas supply. “The supply of energy to Europe, for heat generation, for transport, for electricity and for industry cannot be secured at this time in any other way,” Scholz pointed out.
Meanwhile, the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, acknowledged this Sunday that discussions have already begun with the European Union and the rest of its allies about the possibility of prohibiting imports of Russian oil as a new measure of pressure against Putin, due to the invasion from Ukraine.
“When it comes to oil, Russian oil, I was on the phone yesterday with the president [of the United States, Joe Biden ], talking about precisely this issue,” Blinken told CNN.
Already on Monday, senior officials in the Senate and House of Representatives from the two main US parties announced an agreement to pass a law that would allow an oil embargo to be imposed on Russia.