(Reuters) – Britain sanctioned five Russian banks and three billionaires on Tuesday and Germany halted certification of a gas pipeline in a first wave of western sanctions after President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into two regions of eastern Ukraine.
Following are reactions from political leaders and analysts.
MAGDELENA ANDERSSON, SWEDISH PRIME MINISTER
“When it comes to Russian gas, Sweden has for a long time and for a variety of reasons – that it isn’t environmentally friendly and there is also a security aspect – seen that there is a concern in relation to the reliance on Russian gas.”
“Nord Stream 2 is not yet functioning, is not supplying energy to Europe. It’s not a different source of energy, it’s a different pipeline for an existing supplier… There’s no change in the current situation.”
JEPPE KOFOD, DANISH FOREIGN MINISTER
“It is encouraging, that the German government has decided to halt the approval process of Nord Stream 2. The Danish government has always been opposed to Nord Stream 2. We believe that the EU must become independent of Russian gas – not just for the sake of climate and security of supply, but also for security policy reasons. Russia’s aggressive conduct is proof of that.”
DMITRY MEDVEDEV, DEPUTY CHAIRMAN OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL OF RUSSIA AND FORMER RUSSIAN PRESIDENT Regarding Germany’s halting the certification process for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline: “Welcome to the new world where Europeans would soon have to pay 2,000 euros per 1,000 cubic metres!”
NIKOLAY SHULGINOV, RUSSIAN ENERGY MINISTER
Russian energy minister Nikolay Shulginov said Europe would not be able to replace the large volumes of Russian natural gas with liquefied natural gas from other countries.
VLADIMIR ASHURKOV, LONDON-BASED ASSOCIATE OF JAILED RUSSIAN OPPOSITION LEADER ALEXEI NAVALNY
“I suspect that as has been the case for the UK for years there is a lot of rhetoric but very little action.
“In any case, they are already excluded from the international financial system so sanctioning these three doesn’t add anything.”
THORSTEN BENNER, GLOBAL PUBLIC POLICY INSTITUTE (VIA TWITTER)
“That (German Chancellor Olaf) Scholz stops NS2 as part of first wave of sanctions is smart public diplomacy move by Germany. Should give those pause who’ve incessantly implied Scholz not aligned with EU & US. They can now focus on whether stopping NS2 makes Putin tremble with fear as much as they’ve claimed.”
MARCEL DIRSUS, NON-RESIDENT FELLOW AT THE INSTITUTE FOR SECURITY POLICY AT KIEL UNIVERSITY (VIA TWITTER)
“This a huge change for German foreign policy with massive implications for energy security and Berlin’s broader position towards Moscow. It suggests that Germany is actually serious about imposing tough costs on Russia. Big day.”
TOM KEATINGE, FINANCE AND SECURITY EXPERT AT THE ROYAL UNITED SERVICES INSTITUTE THINKTANK
Regarding British sanctions: “We’ve taken a peashooter to a gun fight. It doesn’t make any sense to me at all. The whole point of the sanctions has been to deter Putin and if at the first chance you get to use these sanctions you only tickle his feet, what’s the point. If we ever had the upper hand, we’ve lost it today.”
TIMM KEHLER, HEAD OF ZUKUNFT GAS (WHICH REPRESENTS 136 ENERGY FIRMS)
“We are watching the current situation with great concern. We have so far not heard from our members that Russia is not meeting its contractual commitments.
“We regret the halt to the certification process of Nord Stream 2. The pipeline contributes to plugging the growing import gap in Europe. This gap can be filled only partially and at higher costs through new LNG terminals.”
HANS KOENIG, ENERGY ANALYST AT AURORA ENERGY RESEARCH
“Germany’s decision to halt Nord Stream 2 this morning took most by surprise. Certainly, I think the Russians were taken by surprise.
“Most analysts expected this card to be pulled out in case of a more dangerous escalation like Russian troops advancing beyond the already separatist Donetsk and Luhansk ‘People’s Republics’.”
GAS MARKET REACTION
Prices rose on European markets, especially for gas delivery for later this year and into 2023.
The Dutch Q4 2022 price traded at 79.65 euros/MWh – up almost 12% from Monday.
The winter 2023 contract rose 13.8% to 51.88 euros/MWh.
(Reporting by Reuters bureaus; compiled by Barbara Lewis; editing by Jason Neely)