Vladimir Putin accused of skyrocketing gas prices and stripping UK supermarket shelves
VLADIMIR Putin has been accused of causing gas prices to skyrocket, threatening to expose UK supermarket shelves.
Rising natural gas prices have had a ripple effect that has led food and beverage manufacturers to warn of “chaos” as store supplies are in jeopardy.
Russian state supplier Gazprom has been accused of “deliberate market manipulation” to push gas prices to record highs, which it has denied.
This has led to a shortage of carbon dioxide, which is a byproduct of fertilizer production – but fertilizer manufacturers have struggled with high prices.
Carbon dioxide is used to stun animals and it is used during the packing process of all meats to extend shelf life, as well as in brewing and other food productions.
The closure of the two fertilizer factories has reduced the UK’s supply of food-grade carbon dioxide by 60%, the British Meat Processors Association said.
Nick Allen, the director general of the BMPA had emergency talks with the Ministry of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the crisis.
“We have not received any warning of the planned closure of the fertilizer factories and, as a result, it has plunged the industry into chaos,” he said.
“This crisis highlights the fact that the UK food supply chain is at the mercy of a small number of large fertilizer producers – four or five companies – spread across northern Europe.
“We are relying on a by-product of their production process to keep the UK food chain moving.”
British Poultry Council chief executive Richard Griffiths said around 20 million birds a week are culled, but slaughterhouses only hold a limited stock of carbon dioxide.
“With less than 100 days to Christmas and already facing growing labor shortages, the last thing UK poultry production needs is more pressure.
“If CO2 supplies become tighter and more unpredictable, supply chains will have to slow down. “
FEAR OF CHAOS
The accusation against Gazprom was brought by a group of 40 MEPs, who asked the European Commission to investigate.
MEPs said they were wary of “society’s efforts to pressure” Europe to agree to a quick launch of its Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which Putin pushed.
They cited incidents as evidence, including Gazprom’s recent production cutback and the company’s refusal to pump gas through existing pipelines.
“All of these factors suggest that the record spike in natural gas prices in Europe in recent weeks could be the direct result of the deliberate manipulation of the market by Gazprom,” they said.
Nord Stream 2 has faced sanctions from the United States and criticism from other countries over concerns that the EU will become more dependent on energy imports from Russia.
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