A family cooks outdoors due to lack of electricity and gas next to a residential building damaged in a Russian bombing in Bakhmut, eastern Ukraine, Monday, May 30, 2022. In towns and cities near the fighting in eastern Ukraine, artillery and missile strikes have downed power lines and punched through water pipes, leaving many without electricity or water as repair crews race to repair the damage. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday blamed the United States and Europe for the energy problems they’re facing, saying they stoked fears about climate change to boost support for renewable energy but then underinvested.

Speaking on Russian TV, Putin said those countries adopted a short-sighted policies that relied too heavily on renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and hydrogen.

Those technologies weren’t yet ready for massive deployment or were too expensive, he said, and Europe and the United States downplayed the role of what they were supposed to replace: hydrocarbons. The result was under-development and under-investment in energy, and an increase in prices, according to Putin.

Exacerbating the problem, in his view, is that Europeans – despite Moscow’s warnings – declined to maintain long-term natural gas supply contracts with Russia.

The higher natural gas prices also increased fertilizer costs. Natural gas is heavily used in fertilizer manufacturing.

“But we warned about that, and it’s not connected in any way to Russia’s military operation in Donbass,” Putin added.

Several European countries are heavily dependent on Russia oil and natural gas and have been rushing to find alternatives now that they have adopted sanctions — including energy embargoes — against Moscow for its military operation in Ukraine.

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