Zelenskiy blames Russia as Europe counts cost of gas crisis

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy addresses the Offshore Northern Seas 2022 in Stavanger, Norway August 29, 2022. NTB/Carina Johansen via REUTERS/File Photo

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  • Rising energy prices top the European political agenda
  • EU energy ministers will meet on September 9
  • Uniper asks for more support from the German government

STAVANGER, Norway/FRANKFURT, Aug 29 (Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Monday accused Russia of economic terrorism as the cost of Europe’s energy crisis soared, forcing Germany to pay at least $19 billion euros to bail out its biggest importer of Russian oil. gas.

A spike in gas prices as the main exporter, Russia, cuts its supplies has forced German utility company Uniper (UN01.DE), prompting it to seek an additional 4 billion euros ($4 billion) lines of credit in Berlin, in addition to a rescue plan of 15 billion euros. agreement reached last month. Read more

How to respond to the crippling impact of soaring energy costs on businesses and households is high on the policy agenda across the continent as autumn approaches.

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The Czech Republic, which holds the rotating EU presidency, has called an emergency meeting of energy ministers for September 9 when it will propose a cap on the price of gas used for power generation . Read more

“What is happening is really a pan-European problem, it has an impact on all countries, on some less and on others. And that is why we are convinced that the best solution is a Europe-wide solution” , said the Czech Minister of Industry. Jozef Sikela said at a press conference.

German benchmark electricity prices for 2023 topped 1,000 euros per megawatt-hour for the first time on Monday, with supply issues keeping prices for gas and related fuels such as electricity and coal at sky-high levels .

“Russia is using economic terror,” Zelenskiy told an energy industry conference in the Norwegian city of Stavanger.

“He exerts pressure with the price crisis, with poverty, to weaken Europe,” Zelenskiy told the audience via a translator.

His comments come as Russia’s Gazprom plans maintenance this week that will halt gas flows along the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline that connects Russia and Germany via the Baltic Sea.

The blackout has fueled fears that Russia is holding back supplies to pressure Western countries opposed to its invasion of Ukraine, a charge Moscow denies.

“NO LEHMAN BROTHERS COVER”

Countries like Germany and Italy, heavily dependent on Russian gas imports for energy, have been building up storage levels ahead of the cold winter months when demand peaks.

German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said German gas storage facilities were more than 80% full and he expects prices to fall. Italy reached a similar level, providing a cushion against further supply shocks. Read more

Germany will get through the winter better than some thought a short time ago, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Monday.

Habeck also stressed that Germany will not allow a Lehman Brothers-like domino effect to occur in its gas market.

“I promise on behalf of the German government that we will always ensure the liquidity of all energy companies, that we do not have a Lehman Brothers effect on the market,” Habeck said, referring to the bank’s collapse. American investment, which helped trigger the 2008 Financial Crisis.

There was a less optimistic prediction from the head of oil major Shell who warned that gas shortages could persist.

“We may well have a number of winters where we will have to find solutions one way or another,” Shell CEO Ben van Beurden told a press conference during of the industry meeting in Stavanger. Read more

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Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis and Nora Buli in Stavanger, Jason Hovet and Jan Loptaka in Prague, Vera Eckert in Frankfurt, Miranda Murray and Christian Kraemer in Berlin Writing by Keith Weir Editing by Christina Fincher

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