MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Kremlin accused the European Union on Thursday of putting up barriers to the Russian energy firm Gazprom’s operations, as Russia’s gas exports decline and the crucial Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline is closed for maintenance.
Gazprom Chief Executive Alexei Miller said on Wednesday that Western sanctions were responsible for Siemens Energy being unable to carry out regular maintenance on equipment for the Nord Stream 1 natural gas pipeline, which is currently shut for three days of maintenance.
Asked if there was a risk that the pipeline, the main route for the Russian gas exports to Europe, could be shut down altogether, Peskov said the question should be addressed to Siemens Energy and Gazprom.
“You know that the manufacturer is Siemens, this is very high-tech equipment, and you can’t find many companies in the world that are able to service it,” he said.
“Gazprom is ready and willing to continue fulfilling its obligations, but obstacles have been created on the European side – legal and technical – that prevent Gazprom from working.”
The Kremlin has said that Western sanctions against Russia, imposed in retaliation for its military campaign in Ukraine, prevent Gazprom from exporting its full complement of gas to Europe.
Siemens Energy, which normally services the turbines, said on Wednesday it was not involved in the maintenance work being carried out by Gazprom at a compressor station.
(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Kevin Liffey)