The Canadian government has defended its decision to return a turbine critical to restoring regular gas flows from Russia to Germany that had been held up in the country due to Western sanctions on Moscow.
Foreign Minister Melanie Joly and Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson told a parliamentary committee that Ottawa had decided to return the turbine, which had come to Canada for repairs, to maintain cohesion with its German and European allies, reports dpa news agency.
“I cannot overemphasise the depth of concern on the part of the Germans associated with them effectively not being able to access natural gas,” Wilkinson said, adding that refusing to export the turbine was “not viable” given Germany’s dependence on Russian gas.
The turbine has been at the centre of a weeks-long saga over dwindling natural gas flows, in what top German and EU officials say is a politically motivated move by Moscow aimed at sparking an energy crisis in Europe.
Moscow claims that Gazprom was forced to drastically reduce gas deliveries to Germany due to the absent turbine, while German officials have repeatedly maintained that the move was an attempt by Russia to punish Germany for its stance on the war in Ukraine and for imposing sanctions on Russia.
The turbine has now been sent to Germany, where it is being stored temporarily before being transported to Russia for installation.
Siemens Energy, the company responsible for repairing the turbine, said on Tuesday that the component was ready for transport to Russia, though Gazprom said it was still waiting for documentation necessary for the turbine’s reinstallation, a claim that Siemens denies.