Moscow says EU will not succeed in curbing Russian gas imports

MOSCOW (Reuters) -Any plan by the European Union to give its member states the power to halt gas imports from Russia will not succeed and will not damage the Russian economy, foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Tuesday.

The Financial Times reported last Friday that the EU was poised to give its 27 member states the power to halt gas imports from Russia and Belarus. The European Commission declined to comment on the report.

Zakharova told a news briefing that any such EU move would only lead to a swift redirection of Russian gas supplies to emerging markets.

“This is yet another discriminatory measure against our country and another measure that will result in the destruction of the EU’s own economy,” she said.

Russia has long argued that Western sanctions eventually boomerang to hurt their own economies. It also says its natural gas exports are priced competitively.

The FT reported last week, citing a draft legal text proposed by Brussels, that any EU member state would be able to block Russian and Belarussian companies from obtaining space in their gas pipelines and liquefied natural gas terminals.

EU member states could have the authority to “partially or, where justified, completely limit” access to infrastructure to gas operators from Russia and Belarus, in order to protect their vital security interests, the newspaper said.

(Reporting by Dmitry Antonov; writing by Vladimir SoldatkinEditing by Gareth Jones)