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EU states claim they’ve quit Russian gas but still get it – Gazprom CEO

Brussels had previously claimed the bloc had overcome its dependence on energy supplies from the sanctions-hit nation

A number of EU nations that previously insisted they’d completely quit purchasing Russian gas are still receiving the fuel from the country, Gazprom CEO Aleksey Miller has said, in an interview with the Russian state broadcaster.

The executive didn’t provide any details about the volumes of Russian gas that the EU nations are receiving, saying gas molecules running through a pipeline “do not have a national coloring.”

“But we know that Russian gas is supplied to many countries that have declared a refusal to consume it,” Miller said.

The CEO didn’t name which of the bloc’s 27 nations keep receiving natural gas from Russia despite claiming the opposite, but did say that “Russia is currently transiting its natural gas via Ukraine to the Austrian hub in Baumgarten,” which is one of the biggest in Europe.

“This is a very large European hub that supplies gas to other countries across the EU,” Miller said.

According to the executive, under existing contracts Russia continues to supply gas to countries in the south and southeast of Europe.

“Of course Russian gas still flows to the European market, and the volumes are not small,” he said, again pointing out that the fuel is “consumed even by those states that declare that their national markets are free from it.”

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In 2022, supplies of Russian gas to the EU market began to decline due to the destruction the Nord Stream natural gas pipelines, and to the refusal of a number of EU member states to pay for their fuel in rubles, including Netherlands, Denmark, Bulgaria and Finland.

In response to EU sanctions last year, Moscow demanded that countries that support the campaign of international restrictions on Russia pay for their Russian gas in rubles instead of dollars or euro.

Against the backdrop of reduced supplies from Russia, the bloc had to increase purchases of liquefied natural gas (LNG). At the end of 2022, the EU was ranked as the world’s largest buyer of the chilled fuel, having topped longstanding leaders like China, Japan and South Korea.

In 2022, the US became the major exporter of LNG to the EU market, while Russia increased shipments of its LNG by 20%.

Earlier this year, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that the EU had managed to overcome its dependence on Russian oil and gas, adding that Moscow had reduced gas exports to the bloc by 80%. Similar claims were voiced by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Last year, the US became the major exporter of LNG to the EU market, while Russia increased shipments of its LNG by 20%.

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