"I heard statements that the United Kingdom wants to reduce purchases of Russian gas, it is the right of every commercial organization and country to choose its energy policy. We, in this case, supply gas to Europe, proceeding from the needs on absolutely competitive terms, and we will continue to operate in a competitive environment. Such decisions are politically motivated and are not aimed at expanding competition in the European market," Novak said commenting on May's statement.
On Wednesday, UK Prime Minister Theresa May said that the United Kingdom, together with the European Union, continued to seek an opportunity to reduce dependence on Russian gas as Moscow allegedly used such dependence to exert influence. Alongside asset freezes and the biggest diplomatic expulsion since the Cold War, that was the prime minister's response to a poisoning of Russian former intelligence officer Sergei Scripal, of which she earlier accused Moscow.
Some EU member states continuously express their concern over European independence in terms of gas supply and thus vehemently oppose Russian project Nord Stream 2 which aims to deliver 55 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas a year to the European Union across the Baltic Sea to Germany. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev stated that the realization of the Nord Stream 2 project does not unilaterally increase EU dependency on Russia, but creates interdependence, stressing that "this is what business is about."
In 2017, Gazprom increased its gas exports to non-CIS countries by 8.4 percent to 194.4 billion cubic meters. Chairman of Gazprom's Board of Directors Viktor Zubkov said in early February that the company's goal in 2018 was to maintain its export capacities.