Putin denies withholding gas deliveries to Europe

Russian President Vladimir Putin has rejected accusations that his country is holding up natural gas deliveries, contributing to soaring energy prices in Europe.

Skyrocketing gas prices in Europe are putting increasing pressure on households.

They are resulting from rising demand for gas as economies recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
But Russia, which is Europe's major gas provider, is facing claims that it is worsening the price hike by deliberately withholding shipments.

Speaking at an international energy conference in Moscow on Wednesday, Putin said Russia is increasing natural gas supplies to Europe despite the difficult situation.

He angrily said accusations that Russia is using energy as a weapon are nonsense and are politically motivated.

The Nord Stream 2, a new Russian pipeline that will carry natural gas from Russia to Germany, is awaiting European approval to start operating after it was completed last month.

Russian critics say the country is using the energy crisis to gain swift approval for the pipeline.