Russia’s state-controlled gas company cited the turbine when it cut off flows to Europe last month, a move Western countries have called “energy blackmail”.
Gas cuts from Russia to Europe in summer could bring harsh winter
Canada circumvented its own sanctions against Russia to return the turbine to Germany, which had been pushing to get it back so it could store gas ahead of winter amid fears of energy rationing. But Ukrainian officials argued there was no technical basis for Russia’s request to return the turbine because the pipeline could operate without it. Moscow, they say, is choosing to weaponize the flow of gas in retaliation for the sanctions.
“This dangerous precedent violates international solidarity, runs counter to the principle of the rule of law and will only have one consequence: it will reinforce Moscow’s sense of impunity,” Ukrainian foreign ministries said. and Energy in a press release.
The departments urged the Canadian government to reconsider its decision and “ensure the integrity of the sanctions regime”.
The dust has placed Canada in a delicate position, caught between two allies: Germany, a NATO partner, and Ukraine, which Ottawa has supported since the start of the full-scale invasion of Russia. in February, penalizing more than 1,000 people and entities, including Russian oil. and gas and its industrial manufacturing industry. Canada is home to the second largest Ukrainian diaspora community in the world.
Canada’s Conservative Opposition Party also criticized the decision, saying in a statement on Sunday that “the return of the gas turbine sets a dangerous precedent for falling back on [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s blackmail of Europe, and will have a negative impact on Canada’s position on the world stage.
Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s natural resources minister, said on Saturday that the permit to return the turbine was “time-limited and revocable”.
“Without a necessary supply of natural gas, the German economy will suffer very significant difficulties,” he said, “and the Germans themselves may not be able to heat their homes with the approaching winter.
The pipeline is set to be temporarily shut down for annual maintenance from Monday, sparking concern in Europe that the routine 10-day shutdown could be extended.
Robert Habeck, Germany’s economy minister, told German TV channel Deutschlandfunk on Saturday that the country should prepare for the worst-case scenario. “It could be that the gas is flowing again, maybe more than before. It may also be that nothing comes.
Virtually the entire European Union has said weaning off Russian gas should be a priority, but several member countries remain heavily dependent on Moscow. Speaking on Sunday at Rencontres Economiques, an economic forum in the south of France, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said it would be “totally irresponsible to ignore” the possibility of Russia cutting off the flow of gas more than it already does.
“Let’s prepare for a total cut off of Russian gas,” said Le Maire. “Today is the most likely option.”
Kendra Nichols contributed to this report.