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Official: EU Should Back Ukraine Despite Economic Fallout

The European Union should continue supporting Ukraine despite the lowered Russian gas deliveries to major EU customers and the economic toll from it, Elina Bardram, acting director for International Affairs and Climate Finance at the European Commission, told Reuters on Wednesday.

Since last week, Russia has significantly lowered gas supply to several customers in Europe, including the biggest, Germany and Italy. The upcoming annual maintenance at Nord Stream that will completely halt deliveries through the pipeline for two weeks in July will also leave Europe scrambling to fill gas storage sites to adequate levels before the winter.

"Our product, our rules. We don't play by rules we didn't create," Alexei Miller, the chief executive of Gazprom, said last week about gas supply to Europe.

The EU, for its part, is turning to coal-fired power generation in an effort to replace gas in power generation as it seeks to send gas to storage.

Germany will rely more on electricity generation from coal in order to conserve gas and fill its gas storage by winter, its Economy Minister Robert Habeck said this weekend. Neighboring Austria plans to convert a reserve gas-fired plant to run on coal, while the Netherlands is set to ease its current restrictions on coal-fired power plants. 

Commenting on the slashed Russian gas deliveries, the European Commission's Bardram told Reuters that "With the very rogue moves we are observing from the Putin administration in terms of Gazprom lowering the flow very suddenly, we are doing some very important measures, but all of those measures are temporary."

The EU's 2050 net-zero goal remains intact, as does the 2030 emission-reduction target, despite increased coal use across Europe in the short- and medium-term as the bloc looks to conserve gas and fill storage sites ahead of the winter, Bardram said.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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