The Kremlin on Thursday accused the European Union of hampering the operations of Russian energy firm Gazprom as Russia’s gas exports dwindle and the crucial Nord Stream 1 pipeline is shut down for maintenance.

Gazprom Chairman Alexei Miller said on Wednesday that Western sanctions were to blame for Siemens Energy’s inability to carry out regular equipment maintenance on the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, which is currently closed for three days of maintenance.

Asked whether there is a risk that the pipeline, the main route for exporting Russian gas to Europe, could be shut down completely, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the question should be addressed to Siemens Energy and Gazprom.

“They know the manufacturer is Siemens, it’s very high-tech equipment and you can’t find many companies in the world that are capable of servicing it,” he said.

“Gazprom is ready and willing to continue fulfilling its obligations, but obstacles have been created on the European side – legal and technical – that prevent Gazprom from working.”

The Kremlin has said that Western sanctions against Russia, imposed in retaliation for its military campaign in Ukraine, prevent Gazprom from exporting all of its gas to Europe.

Siemens Energy, which normally services the turbines, said on Wednesday it was not involved in maintenance work being carried out by Gazprom at a compressor station.

Categorized in: