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Senator hints at EU culpability for Austrian gas disaster by rejecting Moscow’s new routes

December 13, 2017, 12:03 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The explosion on the territory of a gas distribution station at Austria’s OMV set off a major fire and fully halted gas transit over this pipeline route

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© RKNoe/Moetz via AP

MOSCOW, December 13. /TASS/. The pipeline accident in Austria, which has left several European countries without gas should put the EU’s feet to the fire to bear responsibility for blocking Russia’s policy aimed at diversifying the routes of gas supplies to Europe, head of Russia’s Federation Council (upper house) Foreign Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev said.

The explosion on the territory of a gas distribution station at Austria’s OMV near Baumgarten an der March that occurred on Tuesday because of a technical malfunction set off a major fire and fully halted gas transit over this pipeline route. The disaster has left one person dead, while 21 others were injured. The damaged terminal distributes gas delivered from Russia and Norway to Germany, Italy, France, Slovenia, Croatia, and Hungary. One-third of Russian gas exports to Europe run through the Baumgarten hub.

"The most massive technical accident at the gas distribution terminal in Austria, which has left half of Europe without gas, poses an equally crucial political question point-blank. The essence of which is: who in the European Union will shoulder the responsibility for blocking Russia’s stance to diversify gas supply routes to Europe for the past number of years, or whether anyone will take responsibility at all? Given the principles of corporate solidarity, which make it possible to pin the blame for one’s own blunders on ‘plots by foreign enemies’?" Kosachev wrote on his Facebook page on Wednesday.

He recalled the events, which occurred in 2007-2009, when Russia’s gas ties with Europe were held hostage to Ukraine’s failure to pay and events concerning the South Stream project. A pipeline plan that was "not formally agreed on by Bulgaria, albeit at the behest of Brussels." In addition to that, the senator mentioned the European Union’s attempts to derail the Nord Stream 2 project.

"Russia’s attempts to build long-term cooperation projects are being fixed up as a threat, while the energy sphere is turning into a battleground against Russia, but this time from a united Europe where the myth of the Russian threat turns into a weapon," the senator noted.

Addressing politicians in Denmark, Bulgaria, Lithuania and other European countries, Kosachev asked them whether they are ready to answer to European consumers who are busy worrying about whether or not they will be able to boil water in a kettle on their gas stoves this morning or about rescuing themselves from Russia. "Alas, so far everything is proceeding according to your plan. Media reports say that the extension of economic sanctions against Russia will be discussed at the European Union’s summit on December 14-15," he concluded.

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