MOSCOW: The Kremlin said on Monday the halt of gas deliveries to Germany via the Nord Stream pipeline was caused by Western sanctions that prevent the maintenance of its infrastructure.
"Problems with pumping (gas) arose due to sanctions that were imposed against our country," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, several days after the key pipeline was closed indefinitely for repairs, reports AFP.
He said the Kremlin "rejects attempts" by the West to "place responsibility and blame" on Moscow.
"It is the collective West -- in this case the European Union, Canada and Britain -- that are to blame for the situation reaching this point," Peskov said.
Russian gas giant Gazprom said Friday that the Nord Stream pipeline due to reopen at the weekend after three days of maintenance would remain shut for repairs after "oil leaks" were discovered in a turbine.
Following the imposition of economic sanctions over the Kremlin's offensive of Ukraine, Russia has reduced or halted supplies to different European nations, causing energy prices to soar.
The Kremlin says sanctions have blocked the return of a Siemens turbine that had been undergoing repairs in Canada.