Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday claimed he and his war in Ukraine have nothing to do with the energy crisis plaguing Europe as western nations brace for a cold winter.
"The ball is in the EU's court. If they want to, they can just turn on the tap and that is that," Putin said referring to the Nord Stream Pipeline system during an international forum at "Russia Energy Week."
"We are not restricting anyone or anything, and are ready to supply additional volumes in the autumn and winter period," he added.
Putin's comments come as Europe grapples with how to supply constant energy needs during the winter months as energy supplies have become less reliable since the war in Ukraine began nearly eight months ago.
The EU has not only pledged to cut its gas imports from Russia by 90 percent by the year’s end in response to the war, but Moscow has also routinely cut off gas supplies to European nations under the guise of mechanical and technical related issues – effecting nations stockpiles.
EU nations are also looking to implement a price cap on oil imports from Russia to encourage even lower consumption of Russian oil among European nations.
Ukraine was also forced to halt its electricity exports earlier this week after Russia launched some 85 missiles across Ukraine targeting its electrical infrastructure.
Concerns over gas prices were renewed this month after members nations in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC+) agreed to cut oil production by 2 million barrels a day.
The move will restore the oil market for nations like Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Russia, but is expected to drive up prices at the pump by November as stockpiles diminish.
Putin attempted to lay the blame for high energy costs and low stockpiles on Western determination to cut reliance on oil producing nations and seek greener energy sources.
"We have spoken more than once, including at the Russian Energy Week platform, about the causes and nature of the crisis that is unfolding in the European market, including their excessive enthusiasm over renewable energy sources to the detriment of hydrocarbons," Putin said Wednesday.
The Kremlin chief alleged that he supports "exploring" wind, solar, tidal and hydrogen energy sources but argued consumers were not ready.
"We need to take into account the current volume of consumption, the growth rates of the global economy, the demand for energy resources and the level of technological development," he said.
Putin questioned Western leaders’ enthusiasm to "jump the gun" to appease "populist domestic policies."
"Come on, who does that? But this is what they did – and here is the result," he added.