Putin proposes plan to pump more Russian gas via Turkey to Erdoğan
Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed to his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan an increase in gas exports to Turkey, in a bid to turn the country into a new supply hub to maintain Russia's energy dominance over Europe, Reuters reported on Thursday.
The proposal, which arrived during a meeting between the pair in Astana, comes as Moscow looks to preserve its energy leverage over Europe while it redirects supplies away from the Nord Stream Baltic gas pipelines, ruptured in explosions last month.
"In the course of the work of this hub, which we could create together, of course, it would also be a platform not only for supplies, but also for determining the price, because this is a very important issue - the issue of pricing," the agency cited Putin as telling Erdoğan at the meeting in Kazakhstan.
"Today, these prices are sky-high; we could easily regulate at a normal market level, without any political overtones," Putin added.
Erdoğan did not comment on the gas hub idea during the exchange between the leaders, which was televised.
NATO member Turkey maintains good relations with both Russia and Ukraine and has been engaged in a balancing act since conflict erupted between the countries in February. Ankara has refused to apply sanctions against Moscow unlike Western nations while acting as an intermediary between the two countries and was involved in a July deal to unlock grain exports from Ukraine.
The pair did not discuss the Ukraine war during a bilateral meeting, the Kremlin said.
Ahead of the meeting, the Turkish president indicated in remarks at a regional summit that he was ready to mediate in the conflict, which has entered its eighth, month, saying diplomacy could offer a chance for "a fair peace" that would stop the bloodshed.
"The topic of a Russian-Ukrainian settlement was not discussed," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying Russian state-owned RIA Novosti.