BRUSSELS — European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday that the 27-nation European Union needs to make emergency plans to prepare for a complete cut-off of Russian gas in the wake of the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine.
The EU has already imposed sanctions on Russia, including on some energy supplies, and is gearing away from Kremlin-controlled deliveries. But the head of the EU’s executive branch said the bloc needed to be ready for shock disruptions coming from Moscow.
“We also need to prepare now for further disruption of gas supply and even a complete cut-off of Russian gas supply,” von der Leyen told the EU legislature in Strasbourg, France.
She said a dozen members have already been hit by reductions or full cuts in gas supplies as the political standoff with Moscow over the Ukraine invasion intensifies.
“It is obvious: Putin continues to use energy as a weapon. This is why the Commission is working on a European emergency plan,” she said. “We need to make sure that in case of full disruption, the gas flows towards where it is most needed. We have to provide for European solidarity.”
European Union countries already agreed last month that all natural gas storage in the 27-nation bloc should be topped up to at least 80% capacity for next winter to avoid shortages during the cold season. The new regulation also says underground gas storage on EU soil…