RUSSIA has halted gas supplies to Germany for three days amid blackout fears across Europe as energy prices soar.

Europe has accused Moscow of using energy as a "weapon" after supplies were cut off from Gazprom via the crucial Nord Stream 1 pipeline, blaming the need for maintenance work.

The halt of gas deliveries to Germany from the state-controlled energy giant began shortly before 6am today, and will run until 1am on September 3 .

The pause has intensified an economic battle between Moscow and Brussels, and raised the prospects of recession and energy rationing in some of the region's richest countries.

The head of Germany's Federal Network Agency, Klaus Mueller, has said that the maintenance work is technically incomprehensible and he considers it a way of punishing Germany for siding with Ukraine since the Russian invasion.

Gazprom has repeatedly reduced the flow of gas through Nord Stream 1, blaming technical issues such as equipment repairs.

Read more on Russia

Cost of fixing potholes soars since Ukraine invasion & problem likely to deepen

Moment Russian troops ‘flee frontline’ as Ukraine vows to drive them back

Germany calls these cuts a political move to sow uncertainty and push up prices amid the war in Ukraine.

But Gazprom has insisted the works at a compressor station are "necessary" and have to be carried out after "every 1,000 hours of operation".

Russia said the German government was doing everything it could to destroy its energy relations with Moscow, hours after Gazprom stopped gas supplies to Europe.

In a briefing in Moscow, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said it was Germany, not the Kremlin, that was trying to completely rupture energy ties between the two countries.

The company is also set to fully suspend gas deliveries to Engie, a French utility, citing a dispute over payments, from Thursday.

France's energy minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher said: "As we anticipated, Russia is using gas as a weapon of war and is using Engie's way of applying the contracts as a pretext to further reduce French supplies."

Most read in The Sun


Amanda Holden strips to bikini in the back of a truck on holiday in Sicily


Brits to face these FOUR new UK driving laws from September


Annoying mistake everyone makes boarding planes – enraging passengers & crew


Girlfriend of rapper shares pic of baby bump after he was killed at carnival

Germany – which is heavily reliant on Russia's gas supply – previously banned hot water and heating in Hanover after Moscow stopped sending its gas supplies.

Russia recently has accounted for about a third of Germany's gas supplies.

The government said last week that the drop in gas flows confirmed that Germany can't rely on Russian deliveries, announcing that it would step up its gas storage requirements and take further measures to conserve supplies.

It comes after satellite pictures revealed Vladimir Putin is burning £8.4million of unused gas every day – while families face crippling energy bill hikes.

Massive orange flames are seen shooting into the sky at a natural gas plant after Russia shut the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Europe.

International gas prices rocketed after Russia invaded Ukraine, and spiked again after it shut off the undersea pipeline.

Households across Europe face potential blackouts and energy rationing, while today the UK price cap almost doubled.

Putin has been accused of putting a squeeze on Europe in revenge for its support for Ukraine and sanctions on the regime.

And now images from space show gas "flaring" on a massive scale at Gazprom's compressor plant at Portovaya north of St Petersburg.

Locals across the border in Finland had previously spotted giant orange flames rising from the plant since late June.

The unused gas would normally have been exported to Germany but was burnt instead, the BBC reports.

Analysts at Rystad Energy calculate around 4.34million cubic metres of gas is being burned by the flare every day, worth $10million.

The research company's Sindre Knutsson said: "While the exact reasons for the flaring are unknown, the volumes, emissions and location of the flare are a visible reminder of Russia's dominance in Europe's energy markets.

Most read in News


DC actress dies aged 32 after ‘sudden illness’ weeks before release of hit film


Schoolgirl, 15, and woman stabbed as man arrested for attempted murder


I broke up with girlfriend MONTHS before her family won £61m EuroMillions prize


Moment Russian troops ‘flee frontline’ as Ukraine vows to drive them back

"There could not be a clearer signal – Russia can bring energy prices down tomorrow.

"This is gas that would otherwise have been exported via Nord Stream 1 or alternatives."

A thermal imaging satellite spotted a significant rise in heat emanating from the facility.

Flaring – deliberately burning off excess gas – is a common safety measure at processing plants, but the scale has stunned experts.

"I've never seen an LNG plant flare so much," said Dr Jessica McCarty, an expert on satellite data from Miami University in Ohio.

"Starting around June, we saw this huge peak, and it just didn't go away. It's stayed very anomalously high."

State-controlled Gazprom did not comment on the flaring.

It has previously claimed the pipeline was shut for technical reasons, but Germany says it was purely political.

Industry experts say the gas fields cannot easily stop production, and because the pipe is shut there is nowhere for it to go and they have to burn it in the open air.

Others suggested Gazprom might have hoped to turn it into liquid natural gas – which can be stored – but is lacking vital equipment.

Esa Vakkilainen of Finland's LUT University said: "Because of the trade embargo with Russia, they are not able to make the high-quality valves needed in oil and gas processing.

"So maybe there are some valves broken and they can't get them replaced."


Gas prices were already high before the Ukraine war as demand soared after the lifting of Covid restrictions.

But prices skyrocketed after the invasion as Russia is one of the world's biggest producers.

Continental Europe is heavily reliant in Russian gas imports, leading to fears of winter blackouts, rationing and factory closures in Germany.

Only a tiny fraction of Britain's gas comes directly from Russia.

But the UK relies more on gas for generating electricity than European neighbours because it has less nuclear and renewable energy.

Britain also has little storage capacity, forcing energy firms to buy gas on the highly volatile short-term spot market.

Even the abundant North Sea gas is sold to the UK based on international market prices.

Domestic gas and electricity bills will soar to an average £3,549 from October 1, Ofgem confirmed today.

The eye-watering 80 per cent rise will hit 24million households.

Read More on The Sun

Vet technician reveals the quietest dog breeds that don’t bark all the time

Gemma Collins shows off curves in strapless swimsuit on holiday with Rami

Energy bills have rocketed 35 times faster than wages, fuelling inflation and the cost of living crisis.

Economists say most of the painful price increases are due to the war in Ukraine and Putin holding the West to ransom.

    Source: Read Full Article