The Russian gas giant Gazprom suspended today until September 3 the supply of gas to Germany through the Nord Stream pipeline for maintenance work on the only pumping equipment in operation in the infrastructure.
The cessation of pumping occurred at 04:00 Moscow time (01:00 GMT), according to the real flow data offered on the website of Nord Stream AG, the company that operates the gas pipeline, laid on the bottom of the Baltic Sea.
According to Gazprom, "the set of works in accordance with the current technical service contract will be carried out together with specialists from the Siemens company."
The Russian gas company indicated that in correspondence with the technical documentation of the manufacturer "every 1,000 hours it is necessary to carry out technical maintenance of the equipment that includes the revision of the chassis to detect cracks, deformations, burn marks"
When the maintenance work is completed, the gas pumping will be restored to the level prior to the cessation of operations, of 33 million cubic meters per day.
Russia has been gradually reducing the volume of supplies through the Nord Stream under the guise of technical problems and the need to repair the pipeline's Siemens turbines.
On July 27, Gazprom announced the cut in gas pumping to a fifth of the pipeline's capacity, a decision that, according to Berlin, responds to a "war strategy."
This Tuesday the spokesman for the Kremlin, Dmitri Peskov, indicated that "except for the technological problems caused by the sanctions (on Russia) there is nothing to prevent supplies."
He stressed that the sanctions adopted by the United States, Canada and European countries against Russia "do not allow adequate technical service, repairs or legally formalize the return of the equipment to the place where it is used."
According to Peskov, these obstacles are part of "the irrational actions of Europeans that are very difficult to understand and impossible to explain, but for which the common citizen has to pay a high price."
Moscow has repeatedly suggested that the situation could be resolved by putting the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline into operation.
This pipeline was never put into operation because Germany froze its certification on February 22, the day after Russia recognized the independence of the self-proclaimed Lugansk and Donetsk people's republics, and two days before Russia launched its "military operation special" in Ukraine.