Russia accused of rigging gas prices to undermine Britain’s economic recovery – Telegraph.co.uk

“We call on the European Commission to urgently open an investigation into possible deliberate market manipulation by Gazprom and potential violation of EU competition rules,” the MEPs said in the letter.

Concerns were echoed by senior MPs. Tobias Ellwood, a former minister and chairman of the defence committee, said: “This attempt to manipulate gas prices is an example of grey zone conflict where economies are directly targeted to cause political strife and raise civil unease. An example of the constant competition we now face from authoritarian regimes.”

Chris Bryant, a member of the foreign affairs committee, told The Telegraph: “Russia has been abusing the energy market in Europe for years, holding countries to ransom and forcing up prices. We need a strong united front with other European countries to stop this cynical abuse. Boris Johnson needs to guarantee our energy security without relying on Russia.”

Tom Tugendhat, the Tory chairman of the foreign affairs committee, said last night: “Many of us have warned against Nord Stream 2 because Russia has indicated it is likely to use energy as a weapon. What we are now seeing is that it may already have started. If we are going to defend ourselves we need to think hard about cooperating in energy security, not allowing ourselves to be salami sliced with pipelines that cut out some of our partners.”

Gazprom has denied manipulating the supply to drive up prices and force through the opening of the pipeline. Sergey Kupriyanov, Gazprom’s spokesman, told Bloomberg the company “will need to consult its lawyers” over the concerns raised by the MEPs. 

“Gazprom delivers gas under consumer requests fully in line with contract obligations and aims to meet requests for extra deliveries whenever possible,” the company said in a statement.

But in separate comments at an online meeting on Friday, Alexey Miller, Gazprom’s chief executive, warned that Europe faced a winter with under-filled gas storage.

Mr Miller said that because of this “we see that prices in Europe have already broken all possible records, and maybe even those already reached will be broken in the near future”. 

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