Leer en Español
RUSSIAN PRESIDENT Vladimir Putin today threatened the West to cut off its oil and gas tap if it caps Russian hydrocarbon prices and also to break the grain export contract with Ukraine if it does not lift sanctions.
“There are contractual obligations, supply contracts. And if any political steps are taken that contradict the contracts, we will not fulfill them,” Putin said during the 7th Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, capital of the Russian Far East.
The threat comes just as the G7 and the European Union (EU) discuss different measures to counteract the rising cost of Russian gas tariffs, which exceed 3,000 euros per thousand cubic meters.
Putin has Europe by the throat.
Russia “will not supply anything if it goes against our interests, in this case, economic ones. Not gas, not oil, not coal,” he added. Putin insisted that the Kremlin intends to honor its commitments. Still, if anyone tries to impose his will on it outside the acquired contracts, he warned that he would respond as in the famous Russian folk tale about the fox and the wolf, in which the former invites the latter to fish by sticking his tail into an ice hole in the river and the end catches him frozen for naiveté.
“Freeze, freeze, wolf tail!” he recited, alluding to Europeans.
The Russian leader did not hesitate to consider the initiative to limit the cost of gas supplied by the state-owned Gazprom consortium as “nonsense,” arguing that this “will only lead to higher prices.”
Putin blamed the dramatic rise in the hydrocarbon price on Gazprom’s own European customers, offering them long-term fixed-price contracts when the tariff was $300, but Europe chose to pay cash.
He recalled that for decades the EU had a “competitive advantage” thanks to Russian hydrocarbons, as they are much more profitable than US liquefied natural gas.
“If they want to give up that advantage, we will not be angry. The market of Europe was always considered premium, but the situation in the world changes very fast and not so long ago, at the beginning of the crisis around Ukraine, it was no longer premium,” he noted.