Russian President Putin said yesterday, on 12 October, that the sabotage of North Stream was “an international act of terror” but that the pipelines are able to be repaired. This was reported by Danish public service media DR.
‘- Gas can still be delivered through the intact North Stream 2 pipeline, but the ball is in EU’s court. EU must decide whether it wants gas to be delivered through the pipeline or not, said Putin.
Jakob Tolstrup, lecturer in political science at Aarhus University, assesses Putin’s stance as an outstretched hand as last week’s escalation of the conflict in Ukraine, accusations against Kyiv and the explosions on the Kertj bridge has left signals from both Putin and Lavrov (Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs) with some sort of willingness to negotiate.
However, he adds that the message from Putin should be viewed from a different angle.
– The circumstances under which Putin is willing to negotiate is yet unknown. But a general signal of willingness to negotiate is expressed. Whether he (Putin red.) means it seriously is another story, said Tolstrup.
Putin’s message arrives at the same time as discussions in the EU of implementing sanctions against Russia, including a price limit on gas and oil, are about to be initiated.
Jakob Tolstrup believes Putin is trying to cause division between the European countries in deciding the outreach of the sanctions, as Putin said he had many other options of selling his gas. Tolstrup adds that this is a known technique Russia utilizes every time EU has discussed implementing additional sanctions against the country. Either through statements or actions, the Russian regime has attempted to affect the outcome.
– When we reach the other side of the sanctions, Russia will turn back to its harsh rhetoric which is probably the most likely scenario.