Vladimir Putin accused of sending gas prices soaring so UK supermarket shelves are left BARE

VLADIMIR Putin has been accused of sending gas prices soaring, which threaten to leave supermarket shelves in the UK bare.

The rise in prices of natural gas meant a knock-on effect that has led to food and drink makers warning of “chaos” as supplies to shops are in danger.

Vladimir Putin’s government owns Gazprom[/caption]
High gas prices have led to fears about bare supermarket shelves[/caption]

Russia’s state-owned Gazprom supplier has been accused of “deliberate market manipulation” to send gas prices to record levels, which it has denied.

That has led to a shortage of carbon dioxide, which is a by-product of fertiliser production – but fertiliser makers have been struggling with high prices.

Carbon dioxide is used to stun animals and it is used during the packaging process for all meat to prolong shelf life, as well as in brewing and other food production.

The closure of the two fertiliser plants has cut 60 per cent of the UK’s food-grade carbon dioxide supply, said the British Meat Processors Association.

Nick Allen, the chief executive of the BMPA had emergency talks with the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the crisis.

“We’ve had zero warning of the planned closure of the fertiliser plants and, as a result, it’s plunged the industry into chaos,” he said.

“This crisis highlights the fact that the British food supply chain is at the mercy of a small number of major fertiliser producers – four or five companies – spread across northern Europe.

“We rely on a by-product from their production process to keep Britain’s food chain moving.”

British Poultry Council chief executive Richard Griffiths said around 20 million birds a week are slaughtered, but abattoirs only hold a limited stock of carbon dioxide.

“With fewer than 100 days to go until Christmas, and already facing mounting labour shortages, the last thing British poultry production needs is more pressure.

“If CO2 supplies become tighter and more unpredictable then supply chains will have to slow down.”


The accusation about Gazprom was made by a group of 40 MEPs, who have asked the European Commission to investigate.

The MEPs said they were suspicious of the company’s “effort to pressure” Europe to agree a fast launch to its Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which Putin has been pushing.

They cited as evidence incidents including the recent reduction in Gazprom’s production and the company refusing to pump gas through existing pipelines.

“All these factors allow to suspect that the record natural gas price surge in Europe in the recent weeks may be a direct result of Gazprom’s deliberate market manipulation,” they said.

Nord Stream 2 has faced sanctions from the United States and criticism from other countries wary of the EU increasing its reliance on energy imports from Russia.

The high prices are part of a move to speed the approval of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline[/caption]

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