Decision shows success of Pipeline Diplomacy, Russia's hold over Western Europe's economy

Russia has the potential to boost natural gas supplies to Europe, where surging gas prices have ramped up pressure on consumers, the Kremlin said Thursday, the Associated Press reports.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said existing gas transit routes allow for bolstering supplies before the new Nord Stream 2 pipeline that will carry Russian gas to Germany begins operating.

“There is a potential,” Peskov said during a conference call with reporters. “It all depends on demand, contractual obligations and commercial agreements.”

Europe’s soaring gas prices dropped Thursday, a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested his country could sell more gas to European spot buyers via its domestic market in addition to through existing long-term contracts.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said Wednesday that getting Nord Stream 2 launched would quickly stabilize European energy markets, a statement seen by some in Europe as an attempt to prod regulators into moving fast to certify the new pipeline.

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