Moscow has rejected accusations that it is intentionally stalling the delivery of a turbine crucial for the proper long-term functioning of the Nord Stream 1 Russia to Germany natural gas pipeline, instead placing the blame squarely on the West and its sanctions.
The turbine had been in Canada at a Siemens facility - the only place in the world where it can be worked on - but is now said to be en route back to Russia, only to be held up in Germany, or "stuck in transit", as Reuters reported. But the Kremlin on Friday has rejected this narrative, calling the report "nonsense".
Specifically Kremlin officials are rejecting the following: "Reuters reported on Thursday that Russia had not yet given the go-ahead to transport the turbine back to Russia, citing two people familiar with the matter" - given the suggestion Moscow is intentionally delaying for the sake of further stalling gas deliveries to Europe.
The conflict is being chalked up essentially to Russian authorities not issuing the proper permits to transport the turbine back, hiding efforts to disrupt energy to Europe by leveraging bureaucratic paperwork.
"The accusations are groundless. The sources are wrong," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, calling the charge "nonsense". Nord Stream 1 was cut to 40% of its capacity starting in June due to what Russia at the time blamed on Canadian sanctions enforcement delaying the turbine's return.
Canada this month said it granted a special sanctions waiver for the turbine's return, citing solidarity with European allies like Germany badly in need of the smooth return of natural gas supply operations.
But now this has descended into a big he said, she said geopolitical fight at a moment diminishing gas supplies to Europe hang in the balance. Again, Russia has sought to stress that it's the turbine holdup due to Western sanctions enforced by Canada to blame for the EU's gas crisis. And according to the latest developments via newswires, Russia is saying it hasn't heard any definitive communications from Siemens:
- GAZPROM: SIEMENS HAS NOT PROVIDED ANY TURBINE PAPERS YET
- SIEMENS DEAL DOESN'T INCLUDE EXTRA OBLIGATIONS FROM GAZPROM:CO.
- GAZPROM ONCE AGAIN ASKS SIEMENS TO PROVIDE TURBINE PAPERS
Berlin and other European countries have countered that this is all part of Putin's "weaponization of energy" and that the turbine controversy is just cover to stall gas deliveries further.
It's all the fault of sanctions, Moscow says...
This week the European Commission proposed drastic collective action in the form of a 15% "voluntary" reduction in gas consumption across all member countries over the next eight months, with an emergency "alert" option that would allow for rationing to be mandated by the European executive.