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Vladimir Putin says Russia can give Europe more gas and rejects ‘nonsense’ idea he’s using energy as a weapon

President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday (Oct 13) Russia was not using gas as a weapon and was ready to help ease Europe’s energy crunch as the EU called an emergency summit to tackle skyrocketing prices.

Speaking ahead of the panel, which included the CEOs of ExxonMobil, BP, TotalEnergies and Mercedez-Benz, Putin said that Europe should “not deal in blame-shifting” over the energy crisis in the region and that European countries had not done enough to replenish gas reserves in the summer.

“We are not using any weapons,” Putin told CNBC in Moscow on Wednesday, according to a translation. “Even during the hardest parts of the Cold War Russia regularly has fulfilled its contractual obligations and supplies gas to Europe,” he said.

Describing reports that Russia has withheld gas supplies to Europe, Putin called such accusations “politically motivated blather” and there was “nothing to support it [the idea] that we use energy as a kind of weapon.” On the contrary, he said, Russia was “expanding its supplies to Europe.”

“We are not using any weapons.”

Putin said that the gas market was not balanced or predictable, particularly in Europe, but said Russia was meeting its contractual obligations to supply clients and was ready to boost supplies if asked.

He dismissed accusations that Russia was using energy as a weapon: “This is just politically motivated chatter, which has no basis whatsoever.”

“The European gas market does not look to be well-balanced and predictable” he said, with the main reason being, he added “that not everything in this market depends on the producers, no lesser role is played by the consumers of gas.”

Given Russia’s role as one of the world’s main energy exporters, it is in a position of both strength and weakness. While Russia can (and does) use its resources to bolster government revenue, the global transition away from fossil fuels to greener energies and technologies means that it could find increasingly smaller demand for its resources in future.

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