“We favour energy security of Europe; we want to work collaboratively ... Gazprom has in fact started pumping out from its reserves into the pipelines to stabilise the market,” Ryabkov told the BBC’s Hard Talk programme without elaborating.

Interfax news agency, citing data from Gas Infrastructure Europe, has said that Gazprom pumped gas from a storage facility at Haidach in Austria for one day on 7 October after a spike in gas prices to a record high.

“We work deliberately, quietly, soberly towards stabilisation. It’s not in our interest to rock the boat further,” Ryabkov said.

A group of European Parliament lawmakers has asked the European Commission to investigate Gazprom’s role in the rising prices, saying its behaviour has made them suspect market manipulation and an “effort to pressure” Europe to agree a fast launch of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany.

Both Gazprom and the Kremlin have dismissed the accusations.

“We would prefer to have here a bear market. Russia is about bears now, it’s not about bullies,” Ryabkov said.

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