Russia denies it is behind Europe energy crisis

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Russia denies it is behind Europe energy crisis

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Russia has nothing to do with the energy crisis in Europe, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said this week, rejecting allegations from the International Energy Agency that it is holding back supplies and driving up prices of natural gas.

Novak told state television that neither Russia nor our main exporter Gazprom have anything to do with this, according to the Interfax news agency. Russia has delivered more to clients such as Germany and Turkey that had exhausted their contracted limits, he said.

Novak blamed the shortsighted policy of the European Union and the European Commission, which has deliberately moved away from long-term contracts for many years and shifted its energy sector towards reducing dependence on Russia. Europe is grappling with an energy crunch that has resulted in gas and power prices breaking multiple records over the past few months. The continent's gas inventories are already at their lowest point in more than a decade, and the two coldest months of the year have just begun.

Novak said Russia is ready to increase deliveries but needs long-term contracts to justify investing in production.

Novak was responding to comments made by IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol earlier this week, who accused Russia of holding back supplies to the spot market despite high prices. He said Russia could boost deliveries by at least a third.

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