Moscow’s current supply reductions are “geared toward avoiding Europe filling storage,” IEA chief says © Getty Images / DarioEgidi

International Energy Agency (IEA) chief Fatih Birol has warned Europe to be prepared for the possibility of a complete shutdown of Russian gas exports this winter, calling on EU governments to widen the span of measures aimed at preparing for this scenario, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday.

“Europe should be ready in case Russian gas is completely cut off. The nearer we are coming to winter, the more we understand Russia’s intentions,” he said, as cited by the news outlet.

Commenting on Gazprom slashing 60% of gas supplies via the Nord Stream pipeline last week, which the Russian company stresses is purely technical, Birol said that the “cuts are geared towards avoiding Europe filling storage and increasing Russia’s leverage in the winter months.”

However, the IEA has been openly accusing Russia of manipulating gas prices since last year, when the cost of gas in Europe spiked to all-time highs. (RT)