Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday accused Canada of delaying the return of a turbine for the Nord Stream pipeline, saying Ottawa was eyeing the European market itself.
Russia's state-owned energy giant Gazprom has reduced flows to Germany via Nord Stream 1 by some 60 percent in recent weeks, blaming the absence of a Siemens gas turbine that was undergoing repairs in Canada.
The repaired turbine is currently understood to be en route to Russia, as routine maintenance work that completely halted deliveries via Nord Stream 1 is due to be completed on Thursday.
Moscow says the turbine is essential for the proper functioning of the Nord Stream pipeline, which delivers gas to Germany via the Baltic Sea.
"One machine needs planned repairs, it is not given back from Canada because sanctions have been placed against Gazprom, although it is a Siemens plant," Putin said at a televised meeting in Moscow.
"I'll tell you why Canada did it: because it produces oil and gas itself and plans to enter the European market."
The Nord Stream 1 pipeline has been shut down since July 11 for 10 days to undergo annual maintenance.
Data from management company Gascade on Wednesday showed that gas was expected to begin flowing through the pipeline again on Thursday, although it remained to be seen how much would be delivered.
EU countries have hit Moscow with a barrage of sanctions for its military offensive in Ukraine.
Germany said on Wednesday said Russia was using the absence of the turbine as an "excuse" to limit gas deliveries.