Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday accused a CNBC reporter of purposefully acting as if she did not hear his answer to her question regarding Russia’s supply of natural gas to Europe, the U.K.’s Daily Mail reported Thursday.
CNBC journalist Hadley Gamble interviewed President Putin at a plenary session of the Russian Energy Week International Forum in Moscow on October 13.
During the live exchange, Gamble asked Putin if Russia has “been using energy as a weapon,” implying Moscow was withholding some of its natural gas supply from Europe.
Putin responded to Gamble’s question by denying that Russia had withheld any gas supplies from European states. He said Moscow had done the opposite and was, in fact, “increasing” its natural gas supply to Europe.
“We are increasing supplies to Europe even in today’s difficult conditions for us,” the president said.
“Gazprom has increased gas supplies to Europe by 10 percent; on the whole, the increase in gas to Europe is about 15 percent,” he said. Gazprom is a Russian state-owned energy corporation.
Putin said Russian authorities “have increased [supplies to Europe] by 10 percent through gas pipelines, and they have caught up with LNG to 13 percent.”
Russian imports of “LNG,” or Liquefied Natural Gas, to Europe had recently “also increased to about 13-14 percent,” he said, adding, “We are ready to do this further.”
“I want to emphasize that there was not a single case when our companies refused to fulfill the requests of our partners to increase supplies,” the Russian president noted.
“Even in difficult Autumn-Winter periods of past years, if our partners asked to increase supplies, even in excess of contractual obligations, we have always done this and are doing it now,” he affirmed.
Putin then handed the floor back to Gamble, who immediately proceeded to imply once again that Moscow was failing to supply Europe with a sufficient supply of natural gas.
“How can you make Europe believe that you are a reliable gas partner when you are not supplying this energy through gas pipelines?” the CNBC reporter asked.
“Beautiful woman, pretty. I say one thing and she responds with something entirely different as if she didn’t hear what I said,” Putin replied, directing his sentence to the forum’s sizeable audience.
“Well, I’ll repeat it for you once again,” the president continued, speaking directly to Gamble.
“Listen, you’ve just said ‘You don’t supply gas to Europe through pipelines,'” Putin told Gamble. “You are being misled.”
“We are increasing supplies to Europe. Gazprom by 10 percent. In general, Russia has increased supplies to Europe by 15 percent,” he reiterated.
Gazprom published data in August supporting Putin’s statements on October 13.
“In the first half of 2021, Gazprom increased gas supplies to Western Europe by 28.52 percent compared to the same period last year to 77.235 bln cubic meters,” Russia’s state-run TASS news agency reported on August 13.
“The main consumers of Russian gas in Western Europe are Germany (growth in supplies by 43.42 percent to 28.872 bln cubic meters), Austria (down 18.2 percent to 5.397 bln cubic meters), Italy (an increase of 14.09 percent to 11.393 bln cubic meters), and France (an increase of 15 percent to 6.582 bln cubic meters),” TASS relayed, citing official Gazprom data.