European Union governments yesterday agreed to reduce consumption of natural gas this winter to protect themselves against any further supply cuts by Russia amid its invasion of Ukraine.

EU energy ministers approved a draft European law designed to lower demand for gas by 15% from August through March.

“I know that the decision was not easy, but I think, in the end, everybody understands that this sacrifice is necessary. We have to, and we will share the pain,” Czech Industry Minister Jozef Sikela said.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also added that the EU has taken a decisive step to face down the threat of a full gas disruption

The energy ministers approved the compromise legislation a day after Russian energy corporation Gazprom said it would cut gas flows.

Natural gas prices jumped to their highest level since early March, according to Europe’s TTF benchmark, and more than five times what they were a year ago.

Meanwhile, Since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February and the West moved to punish Moscow by imposing economic sanctions, 12 EU countries have faced halts to, or reductions in, their Russian gas deliveries.

Russia supplied about 40% of Europe’s natural gas before the war, but that has dropped to about 15%.

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