Europeans close to agreement to ration Russian gas amid fears

The Europeans moved closer on Tuesday to an agreement on the rationing of natural gas for next winter and to avoid cuts or reductions in supplies by Russia.

European Union energy ministers deliberated on a European bill that would oblige member countries to reduce their demand for natural gas by 15% from August to March.

“Winter is coming and we don’t know how cold it will be,” said Czech Industry Minister Jozef Sikela, who also deals with energy. “But what we know for sure is that Putin will continue to play his dirty games by abusing and blackmailing gas supplies,” he added.

On Monday, Russian giant Gazprom announced it would limit EU supply through the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline to 20% of its capacity, sparking concern among Europeans trying to shed Russian gas at the favor of their support for Ukraine in the war which opposes it to Russia.

EU commissioners urge ministers and member governments to hasten agreement on gas rationing, and seal it in less than a week

“We must be ready at all times for possible supply cuts from Russia,” said EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson.

The European Union had placed an embargo on Russian oil and coal from this year, but had not sanctioned Russian natural gas because Germany, Italy and some other member states are heavily dependent on such imports.

These decisions have strongly impacted global energy markets which have seen prices rise exponentially in the face of limited demand. Inflation has reached record levels in the world following the embargoes and other measures decided to repress the war in Ukraine.

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