German Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck suspects that Russia may not resume natural gas supplies to Europe via the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline after repairs scheduled for July, complicating forecasts for this winter, Reuters reports.
In June, Russia cut gas supplies to Germany, Italy, Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia as EU countries struggle to replenish storage with fuel used to generate electricity.
Gazprom said that the reason for the reduction in gas flow through Nord Stream 1 was a technical problem. The company said equipment being repaired in Canada was stuck there due to Western sanctions. German leaders dismissed this explanation and called the cuts a political move.
Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck, who is also Germany's economy and climate minister in charge of energy, said a "blockade" of the pipeline is possible from July 11, when regular repairs are due to begin. Last summer, the work entailed a closure of about 10 days, he said.
A week ago, Habeck activated the second phase of Germany's three-phase emergency plan for natural gas supplies, warning that Europe's largest economy was facing a crisis and winter gas storage targets were in jeopardy.