Live: EU members strike deal to cut Russian gas use
The EU on Tuesday reached agreement on how to cut member states’ consumption of gas by 15 percent and reduce their dependence on Russian supplies. Russian energy giant Gazprom on Monday said gas flows to Germany through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline would fall to 33 million cubic metres (MCM) per day from Wednesday. Follow our live updates for all the latest developments. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).
12:58pm: EU members strike deal to cut Russian gas use
The European Union reached agreement on Tuesday on how to cut member states’ consumption of gas by 15 percent and reduce their dependence on Russian supplies.
The 27 EU members, which have imposed economic sanctions on Russia to punish it for its invasion of Ukraine, met to agree a way cut gas use and share the burden of shortages.
“In an effort to increase EU security of energy supply, member states today reached a political agreement on a voluntary reduction of natural gas demand by 15 percent this winter,” the council of ministers said.
“The Council regulation also foresees the possibility to trigger a ‘Union alert’ on security of supply, in which case the gas demand reduction would become mandatory,” the statement continued.
“The purpose of the gas demand reduction is to make savings ahead of winter in order to prepare for possible disruptions of gas supplies from Russia that is continuously using energy supplies as a weapon.”
Russian state-run giant Gazprom will slash supplies to Europe from Wednesday.
11:28am: Russian strikes hit multiple locations on Black Sea coast says Ukraine
Ukraine said on Tuesday that Russian forces had launched multiple missile strikes at targets on the Black Sea coast near the southern port city of Odesa and in Mykolaiv.
“A massive missile attack, with the use of aircraft, was launched from the Black Sea on the south of Ukraine,” the country’s southern military command said on Facebook.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky published a video showing debris scattered around heavily damaged houses in Zatoka, a popular resort village to the west of Odesa.
The military said that “port infrastructure” was targeted in the neighbouring Mykolaiv region, which was also hit by S-300 missile systems deployed in the Russia-controlled Kherson region.
Governor Vitaliy Kim posted a video of the attack on the city of Mykolaiv, showing multiple explosions and clouds of black smoke rising from the ground.
“A critical infrastructure object and a motor vehicle business were damaged,” Kim said on Telegram.
10:25am: EU ‘will probably end up asking citizens to ration’ for winter gas provisions
As European Union countries meet to discuss cuts in Russian gas supply on Tuesday, agreement from member states on a 15 percent drop in consumption is likely says, Angela Diffley, FRANCE 24’s international affairs editor
Cutting gas use and conserving provisions now are essential ahead of winter months, when demand for gas will increase. “The EU has been trying to import from other sources [than Russia] but that is reaching a threshold,” Diffley said. “Aside from that they will probably end up asking citizens to ration.”
Prior to the invasion in Ukraine the EU relied on Russia for 40 percent of its gas imports.
8:12am: EU ministers to discuss gas rationing in wake of Russian gas cuts
In advance of more Russian gas cuts in Europe, EU ministers are set to discuss gas rationing at a meeting on Tuesday.
Russia has said the cuts are down to technical problems in its Nord Stream 1 pipeline and difficulties getting essential parts delivered due to sanctions placed on Russia by the EU.
“The German government has said they don’t buy this technical problem idea,” said FRANCE 24’s Dave Keating, reporting from Brussels, adding that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky described the cuts as “energy terrorism”.
7:02am: Russian strike hits port infrastructure in south, says Mykolaiv mayor
Russian forces have struck port infrastructure in Ukraine’s southern Mykolaiv region, Mayor Oleksandr Senkevich said on Tuesday.
“A massive missile strike was launched on the south of Ukraine from the direction of the Black Sea, and with the use of aviation,” he told Ukrainian state television, providing no details on the aftermath of the strike.
6:08am: EU countries seek deal on weakened plan to cut winter gas use
European Union countries are set to approve a weakened emergency EU proposal to curb their gas demand on Tuesday, with opt-outs allowing them to follow different national paths to prepare for Russian supply cuts.
Europe faces a further gas squeeze this week, after Russian’s Gazprom said it would again reduce flows to Europe through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. With a dozen EU countries already facing reduced Russian supplies, Brussels has warned that a full cut-off is likely – and is urging countries to prepare by saving gas and storing it for winter.
The European Commission last week proposed emergency rules requiring each country to cut its gas use by 15 percent from August to March. The target would be voluntary, but the Commission could make it binding in a supply emergency.
However, the plan has faced resistance from a range of governments and countries have redrafted it to include exemptions for numerous countries and industries. Energy ministers from EU countries meet on Tuesday to approve the final version.
5:15am: Fresh Russian gas cuts threaten economic pain in Europe
Russia said it will cut gas supplies to Europe from Wednesday in a blow to countries that have supported Ukraine.
Russian energy giant Gazprom, citing instructions from an industry watchdog, on Monday said gas flows to Germany through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline would fall to 33 million cubic metres per day from Wednesday.
That is half of the current flows, which are already only 40 percent of normal capacity. Prior to the war, Europe imported about 40 percent of its gas and 30 percent of its oil from Russia.
The Kremlin says the gas disruption is the result of maintenance issues and Western sanctions, while the European Union has accused Russia of energy blackmail.
Germany said it saw no technical reason for the latest reduction.
Adding to concerns on the energy front, the Ukrainian state pipeline operator company said Russian gas giant Gazprom without prior notice has increased pressure sharply in a pipeline that runs through Ukraine to deliver Russian gas to Europe.
Such pressure spikes could lead to emergencies including pipeline ruptures, and pipeline operators are obliged to inform each other about them in advance, the Ukrainian company said. Gazprom could not be immediately reached for comment.
Gazprom had estimated that it supplied 41.7 million cubic metres (mcm) through that pipeline on Monday versus 41.2 mcm a day earlier.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that the Kremlin was waging an “open gas war” against Europe.
Politicians in Europe have repeatedly said Russia could cut off gas this winter, a step that would thrust Germany into recession and hurt consumers already hit by soaring inflation.
Moscow says it is not interested in a complete stoppage of gas supplies to Europe.
(FRANCE 24 with Reuters, AP and AFP)