Moscow: The Russian Energy Minister said on Wednesday that it needs to agree on a new contract to increase the delivery of natural gas to Europe, which is struggling with soaring prices.
“If there are requests, that will only be via the establishment of new contractual obligations,” Nikolai Shulginov said, describing Russia as a “reliable supplier”.
Critics are blaming Russia, which supplies more than a third of European gas, for the increase in prices.
They argue that Moscow is intentionally not boosting supplies to put pressure on Europe, to push for more long-term contracts and for the certification of the controversial Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline.
Russian officials have repeatedly stated that suppliers are fulfilling their obligations under contracts signed with European buyers.
But Moscow has not increased deliveries on the short-term spot market, which the EU prefers, thinking it is more competitive.
With economic growth after the end of the pandemic blockade and the decline in the supply of renewable energy such as wind energy, demand in Europe is picking up.
Russia has said a speedy launch of Nord Stream 2 would help combat the surge in prices and President Vladimir Putin this month blamed the crisis on “mistakes” made in Europe.
German regulators have not yet approved the launch of the pipeline, and critics of the Kremlin see it as a geopolitical weapon.