Russia's interruption of natural gas shipments to Europe via the Nord Stream pipeline on the grounds of technical problems is an 'economic attack,' Germany's federal minister for economic affairs and climate action said Tuesday.
Robert Habeck said the cut is part of Russian President Vladimir Putin's plan to create 'chaos' in the European gas market.
'This strategy cannot be allowed to succeed,' he underlined.
On June 15, Russian energy giant Gazprom said some technical equipment sent to the German firm Siemens for maintenance had not yet been returned and warned that gas shipments through the Nord Stream pipeline would decrease.
Gazprom said that up to 67 million cubic meters per day of gas supply could be provided through the pipeline as of June 16 -- a 60% reduction.
The Netherlands, Germany and Austria announced that they would put into use their coal plants to reduce gas consumption with the aim of filling gas storage facilities.
Germany plans to fill its natural gas storage facilities to 90% as of November, which are at 58% currently.
Germany is more dependent on Russian oil and gas than any other European country.
The country met 55% of its natural gas needs from Russia before the war, while it has recently reduced this rate to 35%.
The German government, working hard to reduce its energy dependence, says that it takes time to become completely independent from Russian gas.
Germany has been subjected to intense criticism by the US in the past for its dependence on Russian energy resources.
In a statement, the German Industry Federation warned that if natural gas from Russia is cut off, there will be an inevitable 'recession' in the economy.
Reportin by Bahattin Gonultas in Berlin
Writing by Gokhan Ergocun from Istanbul