STORY: Russia has again cut supplies of gas to Europe.
Flows through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline fell to about a fifth of normal capacity on Wednesday (July 27).
But the Kremlin has denied all suggestions that it’s a deliberate move to exert pressure on Europe.
Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said any problems were the EU’s fault:
"Gazprom supplies as much as is needed and is possible. We know that now the technical possibilities for pumping gas have decreased, have narrowed. Why? Because the maintenance process for various units is extremely difficult due to the restrictions and sanctions that Europe, namely the European Union, has introduced.”
A day earlier, EU countries approved an emergency plan to curb gas usage.
It sets a 15% target reduction between now and March, though the plan is voluntary, and riddled with exemptions.
Without action, policymakers fear that countries won’t be able to refill gas storage tanks and keep people warm in the winter.
German firms have already warned that they may have no choice but to cut production.
Some have grumbled about slow approval for switching from gas to other more polluting fuels.
On Wednesday, the country’s energy watchdog said companies should complain less, and do more to show how they will contribute to saving energy.