Russian Officials: The US Struck Upon South Stream
Russian officials reacted to the order of Bulgaria's PM Oresharski to temporarily suspend the construction of the South Stream pipeline in Bulgaria until it complies with EU law.
According to the Russian daily Kommersant, quoted by the BTA wire agency, Bulgaria changed its position on the project under US pressure. The decision, the newspaper wrote, is a threat of a permanent freeze of the Gazprom project to supply natural gas to Europe without middlemen.
The Russian news wire ITAR-TASS quoted the first deputy chairman of the international relations committee of the Russian Duma Leonid Kalashnikov who said “this was a true energy blackmail”.
“This European pressure on Russia is certainly connected to Ukraine,” he said. According to him, however, this was to be expected and Russia should develop closer cooperation with China and south east Asia instead.
The chairman of the energy committee in the Russian Duma Ivan Grachov said that the suspension of the project “is not the end of the project”, because Europe had a vested interest in it.
“I think this is not the end of South Stream, because, objectively speaking, Europe is interested in it,” Grachov said. “We could try to negotiate with Bulgaria and Romania on parliamentary level.” Grachov suggested that if Russia showed to Europe that it does not plan to stop the gas through the pipeline in Ukraine, this could take off the pressure from South Stream. “Or we can turn straight to the European business, because we know that many EU decision are politically based.”
The first deputy chairperson of the natural resources committee in the Russian Duma Valerii Yazev said the decision to suspend the work on South Stream was purely political and “it makes no common sense and is no economically sound”.
According to Yazev, this decision was bringing benefits only to the US – they want to leave Europe without access to cheap gas and to force it to use liquefied gas, preferably American, and to weaken the competitiveness of the EU economy.
Plamen Oresharski ordered the suspension after a meeting with the US senators Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin), Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut) and John McCain (R-Arizona) on Sunday in Sofia.
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