A general view shows a natural and associated petroleum gas processing plant in the Yarakta Oil Field, owned by Irkutsk Oil Company (INK), in Irkutsk Region, Russia March 11, 2019.
A natural and associated petroleum gas processing plant in the Yarakta Oil Field in Irkutsk Region, Russia March 11, 2019.Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters
  • Putin is "likely" to end supply of natural gas to Europe, a French minister said Sunday. 
  • Bruno Le Maire spoke as France pushes a bill that would allow it to requisition energy plants. 
  • It's one of several drastic moves contemplated by EU states which heavily use Russian energy.

France's Minister of Economy, Finance and Recovery warned on Sunday that Russia is likely to totally shut off its supply of natural gas to Europe.

The move would be a seismic shock to world geopolitics and undo decades of development in Europe and Russia predicated on energy sales.

Speaking at the economic forum Les Rencontres Économiques in southern France, Bruno Le Maire said: "Let's get ready for a total shutdown of the Russian gas supply," he said. "This is the most likely event."

He called for France to quickly invest in energy sources such as biogas and nuclear technologies in order to become independent of Russian energy. 

Saying that the war in Ukraine could potentially spread, he also said: "We should not take Vladimir Putin's threats lightly."

On Monday, Russia turned off the Nord Stream 1 natural gas pipeline to Germany for 10 days of maintenance. European leaders fear the pause will become a permanent shutdown.

Nord Stream 1 is able to transport 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas, but since mid-June cut around 60% of its supply to Germany over a piece of missing equipment — a turbine — under repair in Canada. Germany, which is heavily dependent on Russian energy, declared a gas shortage soon after.

On Sunday, Canada said it would waive the sanctions on Russia to allow the turbine's return, Reuters reported

Ukraine has called the shutdown a bluff, and criticized the easing of sanctions as setting a "dangerous precedent" that will only increase European dependence on Russia, as Radio Free Europe reported

The EU accused President Vladimir Putin of "blackmail" after Russia cut off its gas supply to Poland and Bulgaria in April, as The Washington Post reported.

The move was itself a response to massive economic sanctions imposed by the EU and other Western powers as punishment for the invasion of Ukraine.

Russia's control over a significant portion of European energy supplies has been a key lever for President Vladimir Putin.

As European countries scrambled to reduce their dependency on its gas, Russia has been able to alter the supply to bring pain to European economies and keep them on edge.

The EU has reduced the share of its energy coming from Russia from around 40% to 20%, according to Belgium-based think tank Breugel.  

But the move caused a spike in energy prices — which were already increasing before the invasion — leaving several countries in crisis.

Last week, German union chief Yasmin Fahimi said that "entire industries" could collapse from insufficient gas supply.

On July 7 France put forward a draft bill that would allow it to requisition gas-powered electricity plants, Reuters reported. Le Maire, talking to reporters on Sunday, suggested that the country should be prepared to identify key companies whose energy supply should be prioritized, Politico reported

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