Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia on Monday of economic terrorism by trying to prevent European nations from stocking up on gas ahead of a winter when the impact of soaring energy bills is set to hit households and businesses hard.How to respond to the rise in gas prices, which has been made worse by a squeeze on supplies from Russia, is top of the political agenda across the continent as autumn approaches.
Zelensky spoke in a video address to an energy conference in Norway.His comments come as Russia’s Gazprom plans maintenance this week that will halt gas flows along the Nord Stream 1 pipeline that links Russia and Germany via the Baltic Sea. The outage has fuelled fears that Russia is curbing supply to put pressure on western nations opposed to its invasion of Ukraine.
German benchmark power prices for 2023 breached 1,000 euros per megawatt hour for the first time on Monday as supply concerns kept prices of gas and related fuels such as electricity and coal sky-high.Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said that a response should be coordinated by the EU as his nation called an emergency meeting of energy ministers.“Ahead of the EU Energy Council we want to find a way to help people and businesses that we can agree on with other European leaders,” he added.
The Czechs, who hold the rotating EU presidency, said the meeting would be on September 9. Countries such as Germany and Italy, heavily reliant on Russian gas imports for their energy, have been building up storage levels ahead of the cold winter months when demand peaks.
German economy minister Robert Habeck said on Monday that German gas facilities were more than 80 per cent full.Italy has hit a similar level, giving a cushion against further supply shocks.