MOSCOW, Russia: Russia has indicated that in exchange for increasing gas supplies to Europe to ease the current energy crisis, it wants regulatory approval to start shipments through the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipelines.
According to sources close to state-run gas giant Gazprom and the Kremlin, Russia is awaiting German and European Union approval to begin sending gas through the pipeline to Europe.
"We cannot ride to the rescue just to compensate for mistakes that we didn't commit," Konstantin Kosachyov, a top pro-Kremlin legislator in the upper house of parliament, said in an interview, without specifying what Russia is seeking. "We're fulfilling all our contracts, all our obligations. Everything on top of that should be a subject for additional voluntary and mutually beneficial agreements."
As surging fuel costs have caused increasing economic havoc, pressure has grown on Russia, Europe's largest supplier, to provide more gas. But with relations with Europe strained after years of sanctions and other tensions, there is no appetite in the Kremlin to grant favors to Europe.
At an energy conference in Moscow last week, President Vladimir Putin seemed to suggest Russia could offer more gas, while lamenting the slow progress on receiving approval for Nord Stream 2, a process that could take until well into next year.
German regulators are currently reviewing its application for certification, but have said their initial decision could come only in January, after which the European Commission would also have to give the go-ahead.
"If we could increase deliveries through this route, this would substantially ease tensions on the European energy market," Putin said. "However, we cannot do this.because of administrative barriers."