- Putin said Russia could send natural gas to Europe via Turkey, making it a “gas hub,” per Reuters.
- That’s because the key Nord Stream natural-gas pipelines linking Russia to Europe are damaged.
On Wednesday, Russia’s Vladimir Putin offered to redirect natural-gas supplies to Europe via Turkey, thereby making Turkey “the largest gas hub for Europe.”
“We could move the lost volumes from the Nord Streams along the bottom of the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea region and thus make the main routes for the supply of our fuel, our natural gas to Europe through Turkey, creating the largest gas hub for Europe in Turkey,” Putin said at an energy conference in Moscow, according to Reuters. “That is, of course, if our partners are interested in this. And economic feasibility.”
Alexei Miller, the CEO of Russian state-owned giant Gazprom, echoed Putin’s talking point, saying there is “no doubt that we can consider the issue of a trading platform on the border of the European Union and Turkey,” per Reuters.
Turkey, meanwhile, seemed to be have been caught off-guard by the proposal.
“It is the first time we’ve heard this. Thus it is early to make an assessment,” Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez said at the event, per Reuters. “These are things that need to be discussed.”
Putin’s statement comes two weeks after leaks were first reported on the key Nord Stream pipelines that transport natural gas from Russia to Germany. Both pipelines have been damaged, with Denmark and Sweden telling the UN the leaks were caused by hundreds of pounds of TNT.
The US and Germany are among countries that believe sabotage is involved, with some senior lawmakers in Germany openly pointing the finger at Russia. Putin, for his part, has labelled the incident “an act of international terrorism.”
Putin also offered to send natural gas to Germany through a section of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that isn’t damaged — if the EU wants it. “We are ready to supply additional volumes in the autumn-winter period,” Putin said, per Reuters.
The Nord Stream 2 never started commercial operations because Germany shelved the project days before Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. Construction of the pipeline, which runs under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany, was completed in September 2021.
The German government flat out rejected the proposal to use Nord Stream 2 on Wednesday.
“Nice try,” Christiane Hoffmann, the spokesperson for the German government, told reporters in Berlin, per the Associated Press. “Independently of the possible sabotage of the two pipelines, we have seen that Russia is no longer a reliable energy supplier, and that even before the damage to Nord Stream 1 there was no longer any gas flowing.”
It’s not the first time Putin has suggested the use of the Nord Stream 2. Last month, he said the EU can simply turn on the new Nord Stream 2 pipeline if it wants more natural gas from Russia.