Russia says United States is behind Europe's gas supply crisis



VLADIVOSTOK, Russia, Sept 6 (Reuters) - Russia's foreign ministry said on Tuesday that the United States had fomented Europe's gas supply crisis by pushing European leaders towards the "suicidal" step of cutting economic and energy cooperation with Moscow.

Europe is facing its worst gas supply crisis ever, with energy prices soaring and German importers even discussing possible rationing in the European Union's biggest economy after Russia reduced gas flows westwards.

When asked what needed to happen for Nord Stream 1 to begin pumping again, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Reuters: "Listen, you are asking me questions that even children know the answer to: those who started this need to finish this."

She said the United States had long sought to break the energy ties between Russia and major European powers such as Germany, even though Moscow had been a reliable energy supplier since Soviet times.

"The dominance of Washington prevailed," Zakharova told Reuters on the sidelines of Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok. "Political forces were brought to power in the European Union who are playing the role of 'sheep-provocateurs'."

"It is absolute suicide but it seems they will have to go through this," she said.

The United States and European Union have accused Russia of energy blackmail after Moscow reduced gas supplies to European customers. Russia said there were technical problems with a compressor station that sanctions have prevented being fixed.

The Kremlin says that the West triggered the energy crisis by imposing the most severe sanctions in modern history, a step President Vladimir Putin says is akin to a declaration of economic war.
Reporting Vladimir Soldatkin, editing by Guy Faulconbridge

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