Russian president Vladimir Putin gave the green light for Uzbekistan to deliver Russian gas via Kazakhstan on Saturday, while the Russian gas sector suffers from Western sanctions linked to the attack on Ukraine.

The Russian President, along with his Uzbek counterpart Shavkat Miriziyev and Kazakhstani Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who came to his residence near Moscow to attend an official ceremony to begin the handover, announced via video conference, that permission has been granted.

The ceremony was held on Putin’s 71st birthday.

“This is the largest trilateral energy project” between Russia and these two former Soviet republics in Central Asia, Putin said.

He added that this project will allow Uzbekistan, which is rich in hydrocarbons, by obtaining an additional source of energy, Kazakhstan will be able to solve the problem of providing gas supplies to the regions located in the north and east of the country.

Putin continued, “Russia will once again be able to confirm its position as a reliable supplier of natural gas”.

Putin stressed, “We’re open to further cooperation,” adding that it is among the topics up for discussion between the three leaders.

He stressed that the prospects for cooperation are important and great in the field of energy in general and not only with regard to gas delivery, and there are projects as well as possibilities.

The Russian gas sector was hit hard by European and US sanctions imposed in response to the Kremlin’s military intervention in Ukraine in February 2022.

Gas exports declined by 25.1% in 2022, according to official figures, as the European Union, which was the largest consumer of Russian gas, significantly reduced its imports over the past year.

In front of a European market that is now almost closed to it, the giant Russian gas company Gazprom, which monopolizes Russian gas exports via pipelines, began a strategic change in recent months as Russia re-exported part of its supplies to Asia, where the demand for energy is high.

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