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3 August, 03:04 PM

Releasing Russian gas turbine called Putin’s bluff, Scholz says

Canada helped to call Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s bluff when it agreed to return a Russian natural gas turbine after repairs, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in an interview with Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail on Aug. 1.

The turbine is part of Nord Stream-1 (NS-1) gas pipeline between Russian and the EU, and was getting repaired in Canada. Western sanctions precluded the turbine’s return to Russia, giving Putin a pretext to drastically reduce gas supplies to Europe, the chancellor said.

“Russia used this turbine as a pretext to halt previously agreed-upon gas exports,” said Scholz.

“Thanks to (Canadian PM) Justin Trudeau, we were able to call Putin’s bluff. We never believed he cut gas supply due to technical reasons… Russia sought to blame Western sanctions for cutting natural gas supplies (to Europe).”

Now that the turbine is being returned to Russia, the Kremlin no longer has an excuse to shirk its contractual obligations, according to the chancellor.

Scholz also said he doesn’t think Russia would choose to increase gas transit through Ukraine while NS-1 was unavailable.

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