Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday accused Canada of delaying the return of a repaired German Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline turbine in the hope of selling its own hydrocarbons to Europe.
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The fate of this Siemens turbine, presented by Moscow as essential to the proper functioning of Nord Stream 1, a gas pipeline that supplies Germany and Europe with Russian gas, has cast uncertainty on the future of deliveries by Russia.
Canada, where it had been sent to be repaired in a factory of the German group, returned the turbine to Germany, after hesitating because of sanctions aimed at Moscow for its offensive in Ukraine. But the timing of its delivery to Russia is uncertain.
“A machine needed to be repaired. It was not returned by Canada because of its sanctions against Gazprom, even though (the repairs took place) in a Siemens factory,” said Putin, quoted by the Tass news agency.
“I will tell you why Canada did this. This is because it also produces oil and gas and plans to enter the European market,” he added.
The Nord Stream pipeline is currently shut down for ten-day maintenance which will normally end on Thursday. European countries fear, however, that Moscow will take a technical reason as a pretext for not resuming its deliveries, and thus put pressure on them in the context of the conflict in Ukraine.
Before the shutdown of Nord Stream 1, Russia had already greatly reduced deliveries in recent weeks, justifying them by the lack of Siemens turbines.
Germany on Wednesday called this argument a "pretext" and the European Union accused Moscow of using the gas "as a weapon".
These difficulties around deliveries via Nord Stream 1 come at a time when European countries are trying to fill their gas reserves for the winter.
In this context, European countries are trying to diversify their gas supplies, turning in particular to the United States, Qatar, Azerbaijan and other countries.