Gas prices have soared after Russia further cut gas supplies to Germany and other central European countries after threatening to earlier this week.

European gas prices rose 9%, trading close to its earlier all-time high after Russia invaded Ukraine.

Critics accuse the Russian government of using gas as a political weapon.

Russia has been cutting flows through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany, with it now operating at less than a fifth of its normal capacity.

Germany imports 55% of its gas from Russia and most of it comes through Nord Stream 1 – with the rest coming from land-based pipelines.

Russian energy firm Gazprom has sought to justify the latest cut by saying it was needed to allow maintenance work on a turbine.

The German government, however, said there was no technical reason for it to limit the supply.

Ukraine has accused Moscow of waging a “gas war” against Europe and cutting supplies to inflict “terror” on people.

The UK would not be directly impacted by gas supply disruption, as it imports less than 5% of its gas from Russia. However, it would be affected by prices rising in the global markets as demand in Europe increases.

UK gas prices rose 7% on Wednesday, almost six times higher than a year ago, but still 20% below the peak seen in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

UK energy bills increased by an unprecedented £700 in April, and are expected to rise again with forecasts suggesting they could hit £3,363 a year for a typical household in October.

The latest reduction in flows puts pressure on EU countries to reduce their dependence on Russian gas even further, and will likely make it more difficult for them to replenish their gas supplies ahead of winter.

Since the invasion of Ukraine European leaders have held talks over how to reduce its dependence on Russian fossil fuels.

BBC