Russian energy corporation Gazprom released an “apocalyptic” video on Tuesday, September 6, threatening to shut off gas to Europe as winter approaches.
The video, now widely shared on social media, contains a scene in which the Russians show Gazprom completely shutting off gas to Europe, and depicts snow-covered European capitals and freezing conditions.
On September 2, Gazprom announced that an oil leak was discovered during routine maintenance at a unit at the Portovaya compressor station, meaning the gas pipeline would be completely stopped until the problem is fixed.
According to Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for the president of the Russian Federation, Western sanctions were the reason for the complete cessation of supplies and the closure of the Nord Stream-1 gas pipeline.
Speaking at a conference call on September 5, Peskov said the sanctions were “causing havoc” over repairs to the pipeline and dismissed claims that Russia cut off supplies to Europe as a political move.
At the end of August, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen confirmed that gas storage facilities in the European Union were 80% full and ahead of schedule.
Ukraine is also actively preparing for the coming cold weather. In addition to traditional sources of heat, generators and fuel are being purchased in Ukraine to create heating points in the event of Russia deciding to wage an energy war and hit heating networks. In critical situations, firewood is harvested in individual cities, and Ukrainians are urged to ensure they have more warm clothes and blankets.
In the meantime, while the Kremlin is seemingly using gas to blackmail Europe, a significant percentage of the Russian population, including those living in cities, heat their homes with wood because many Russian settlements are not connected to gas.
In fact, according to the Russian Energy Ministry, 32% of the Russian population has no access to gas services, and are left to resort to using wood and coal to heat their homes.
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