EU faces ‘winter of great suffering’ – Spain
European countries supporting Ukraine against Russia should brace for a full suspension of natural gas supplies by Moscow during the upcoming winter, Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles has warned.
“We are going to have a winter of great suffering,” the cabinet member told Radio National on Wednesday, adding: “in Europe, we have to work hard to be ready to deal with it.”
Robles claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin is already throttling the supply of gas to the continent, apparently referring to the reduction in deliveries by Russian energy giant Gazprom.
The company has blamed external factors for the loss of capacity, noting that Ukraine is refusing to pump gas through one of the routes running through its territory. Gazprom has also pointed to the sanctions-related delay in returning a German-made turbine for the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, following maintenance. European nations, meanwhile, have accused Moscow of reducing the flow for political motives.
The EU, which has pledged to remove Russian fossil fuels from its energy mix within the coming years, in retaliation for Russia’s attack against Ukraine, is facing a severe gas shortage, with alternatives to proving more expensive and less accessible.
Robles went on to claim that Putin “cannot win” in the gas standoff, but acknowledged that parties represented in the Spanish parliament may not support gas rationing, which the EU leadership has recommended for all member states.
“I want to believe that the political forces will rise to the occasion,” she said.
The minister pledged continued Spanish support for Kiev, and asserted that the unity of NATO and the EU were as strong as ever amid the West’s confrontation with Russia.