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Cyprus offers European alternative to Russian gas — RT Business News

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Local energy resources can be used to partially compensate, says President Nikos Christodoulidis

Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulidis has proposed that the EU use natural gas from the eastern Mediterranean as a replacement for Russian supplies, which have made up a dwindling percentage of the bloc’s energy sources since Ukraine-related sanctions came into effect. Last year.

In an interview on Friday, the island nation’s leader said the region could meet around 15-16% of the bloc’s gas needs over the next 25 years.

Europe’s greatest weakness in the current crisis with Ukraine… is its energy dependence on Russian gas. The Eastern Mediterranean alone certainly cannot replace Russian gas. There are no such quantities that can replace Russian natural gas in total, but there are certainly quantities that can alleviate EU dependence,” he stated.

Christodoulidis noted that the bloc has already invested in the region and “we expect more technical and financial support… so that we can exploit the potential of the region.

Following the sabotage of Russian Nord Stream gas pipelines last year, a transit line through Ukrainian territory is currently the only Russian gas supply route to Western and Central European countries. Russia also supplies fuel to southern and southeastern Europe through TurkStream and Blue Stream.

In early March, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said Russian gas exports to Europe had fallen 80% in eight months, and the region now depends on Norwegian gas fields and imports. of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States to meet its needs.

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Christodoulidis’ comment comes just weeks after Cyprus was criticized for its ties to Russia. The financial haven is known for its lax regulation of banking and financial services, and has seen 13 Cypriot entities and individuals placed on US and UK sanctions lists for allegedly serving sanctioned Russian businessmen. A few days later, the island’s largest lender, the Bank of Cyprus, announced that it would close around 10,000 accounts belonging to 4,000 Russian depositors.

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