The wife of Gerhard Schroeder turned out to be a reliable source of information: the Kremlin confirmed that the energy crisis in Europe was discussed at the meeting between Vladimir Putin and the ex-chancellor. According to Dmitry Peskov, the President explained to the guest in detail what was happening and how the situation could be corrected. Schroeder, in an interview with the German media, really voices Putin’s argument on turbines and calls on the German authorities to put Nord Stream 2 into operation. He also hints that he is ready to be an intermediary between Europe and the Kremlin.
On July 27, Dmitry Peskov, answering a question about a possible meeting between Putin and Schroeder, said that negotiations were not planned, but contacts were quite possible. So a professional diplomat tried to kill two birds with one stone – not to give out information that was superfluous at that time and at the same time not to lie to the media. A week later, it became known that the meeting between the president and the ex-chancellor did take place. And Schroeder’s wife turned out to be right – energy issues were indeed discussed there. “The former chancellor, like all thinking and understanding people, is very, very concerned about the real state of affairs, concerned about the energy crisis that has flared up in Europe,” Peskov told reporters. He did not specify exactly when and where the meeting took place, but confirmed that, despite the epidemiological safety measures taken in the environment of the head of state, it was face-to-face. Schroeder, according to a spokesman, expressed concern about the “bleak prospects” and asked Putin to explain the situation.
Peskov briefly recounted the President’s response. Until recently, Russia supplied 167 million cubic meters of gas to Europe daily in several directions. But the Poles cut off the Yamal-Europe line. And Ukraine “under a far-fetched pretext” stopped one branch of the transit gas pipeline. “Here it is appropriate to note that we continue to pay Ukrainians for transit through the only working branch. The aggressor is the aggressor, but the money is accepted, and the payment goes through, ”said the spokesman. This situation was superimposed by the story of the Nord Stream 1 turbines. One was sent to Canada for overhaul, and there are not enough papers to return it. “The president explained to the ex-chancellor that the German side brought this process under British law. Even service under existing contracts is carried out not by the central office, but by the British subsidiary of Siemens, ”added a new, previously unknown detail, Peskov. According to him, Russia wants to receive documents (obviously, including from the UK. – “MK”) that the repaired unit is not a “sanctioned product”, as well as a conclusion on its technical condition. The other turbine also had problems, but the repairmen from the British subsidiary “do not come” and “are in no hurry to fix it.” As a result of all the circumstances, daily gas supplies were reduced to 30 million cubic meters. “Putin explained with examples that this very tense and absurd situation was generated by restrictions and sanctions,” Peskov stressed.
To all appearances, Gerhard Schroeder considered the arguments presented by VVP to be convincing. In an interview with German media, he, following Putin, blamed Siemens for equipment problems. And he repeated the words of Gazprom representatives that the company violated the terms of the contract by sending the “Canadian” turbine by a roundabout route through Mulheim. “Why she is there, and not in Russia, I don’t understand,” Schroeder said. He said that five turbines are needed for the operation of Nord Stream 1: “one should always be on standby in case of unforeseen situations”, the second is now in Mulheim, the third is broken and needs to be repaired, the fourth was supposed to undergo a regular check last week . Only the fifth turbine is working now, Schroeder pointed out in an interview. It should be noted that, according to technical experts, the turbines that ensure the operation of the pipeline are not five, but eight. But the Kremlin takes into account only the most powerful of them, and it was this version that the ex-chancellor presented.
According to Peskov, having learned what was happening with Nord Stream 1, the guest asked if it was possible to use Nord Stream 2 in a completely crisis situation. And Putin said that it is technologically possible – the gas pipeline is ready for “instant use.” “Putin was not the initiator (of this discussion),” the Kremlin speaker stressed. Schroeder in his interview openly calls on the German authorities to put an alternative route into operation. “If you don’t use Nord Stream 2, then you will have to face the consequences,” he warns. According to Peskov, the president explained that before the end of the year, instead of the 55 billion cubic meters previously reserved for the second “stream”, 27.5 billion cubic meters could be delivered to Europe (assuming that the pipe is launched from September 1, there will be plus 23 million cubic meters per day. – “MK”.) Schroeder assures that the commissioning of Nord Stream-2 will allow German industry and households to survive the coming winter normally.
In an interview, the ex-chancellor praises Turkey for maintaining a dialogue with Moscow on Ukraine and regrets that Germany and France have refused contacts. He hints that he is ready to be an intermediary between Europe and Putin: “I made decisions, and I stick to them, and I made it clear: maybe I can be useful again.” However, Peskov hastened to assure: Schroeder did not offer himself as an intermediary. And his “good news” that the Kremlin “wants a negotiated solution to the Ukrainian conflict” needs to be clarified. The spokesman made it clear that this was not about finding compromises: in order for the hostilities to stop, Kyiv must agree to the conditions put forward by Moscow. If politicians and diplomats fail, the military will do their job. “Our conditions are well known. One way or another, they will be provided,” Peskov stressed. He added that the Kremlin has a recording of the conversation between Schroeder and Putin, in case “someone decides to play with the content.”