The International Energy Agency warned on Wednesday that Europe must prepare for a complete halt to Russian gas exports this winter, calling on governments to take steps to reduce demand. This was stated by Fatih Birol, director of the IEA, in an interview with the British newspaper Financial Times in which he insisted that “Europe should be ready in case Russian gas is completely cut off.”

For Birol, Russia’s decision to cut gas supplies to European countries last week may be just the beginning of more cuts that threaten to trigger a harsh winter for the European population dependent on Russian gas.

“The closer we get to winter, the more we understand Russia’s intentions,” he said, also asking to keep nuclear power plants open for use if necessary, since, in his opinion, the measures taken by European governments so far are likely to they will not be enough if exports come to a complete standstill.

The debate on the closure of nuclear power plants has intensified especially in Germany, which has decided to continue with the dismantling of the last one that is active in the country, but Birol did not make any specific reference.

And although the director of the agency advocates the reduction of fossil fuel consumption, he acknowledged that in the current situation, when it is already more than a hundred days since the invasion ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin in Ukraine, the “temporary” use of coal is justified to ensure that there is heating in the colder months, and advanced that the additional emissions of carbon dioxide derived from the burning of highly polluting coal can be compensated “with an acceleration” in the plans of the European States to “reduce” its dependence on imported fossil fuels and “develop renewable generation capacity”.