Putin Cuts Off Oil To Italy After New PM Announces Support For Ukraine

(NewsGlobal.com)- Russia has cut off its deliveries of natural gas to Italy, in response to the new prime minister’s comments about the war in Ukraine as well as an apparent debate over regulations in nearby Austria.

Last week, Gazprom, the state-controlled energy company in Russia, suspended the natural gas deliveries to just Italy. The country used to get it natural gas from Gazprom from a pipeline that runs straight through Austria.

Italy has begun to wean itself off gas from Russia, but it was still relying on it for major supplies. At one point, it received as much as 40% of its total gas supply from Russia, though that amount has been reduced a lot in recent months.

The change is apparently coming from two sources — from Austria’s added regulations and from Italy’s new prime minister giving her support for Ukraine.

Giorgia Meloni, who won an election as the new prime minister of Italy, recently spoke with Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, and told him that Italy is giving their full support to Ukraine in their war against Russia.

In a statement, the Brothers of Italy party, which she is a member of, said that on that call, Meloni “underlined her commitment to every diplomatic effort useful for ending the conflict.”

Meloni was one of the only political leaders in Italy who said she supported the decision by Mario Draghi, Italy’s outgoing prime minster, to send weapons to Ukraine.

That apparently angered Russian President Vladimir Putin, and it could’ve convinced him to cut off gas supplies to Italy in response.

Officially, Gazprom said in a statement that the service to Italy was suspended because the operator of the Austrian part of the pipeline wouldn’t confirm “transport nominations” following regulatory changes being put in place in Austria late last month.

On the flip side, the Energy Ministry in Austria said Gazprom wouldn’t sign off on the contractual changes that show the adjustments to the technical rules of the pipeline that are made at the beginning of every gas year.

In a tweet, E-Control, an Austrian regulator, said that Gazprom knew of these changes for a few months now, just as other participants in the gas market did.

It’s not certain whether this cutoff of gas from Russia to Italy will last too long, though. Eni SpA, the Italian buyers of the gas from Russia, said they were already contacting Gazprom to discuss the issue. The government of Austria said it would also be doing the same.

This is just the latest major news about Russia and gas pipelines. The energy distribution from Russia to Europe has been a major issue since western countries started putting economic sanctions on Russia when they invaded Ukraine.

Recently, there have been claims of sabotage of Russia’s Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines that were recently damaged and leaking natural gas into the atmosphere.