MOSCOW, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- The Russian energy sector needs to take "global cooling" effects into consideration when addressing national challenges, the Russian prime minister said.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said his country faces a variety of challenges as the world moves toward a greener energy policy in the midst of a brutal European cold snap, Russia's ITAR-Tass reports.
"In addition to the global-warming challenges, we need to address 'global cooling' effects and to do so promptly," the prime minister said.
Putin lauded the work of national energy suppliers during the harsh winter gripping Europe, noting they "have been working practically without failures."
He cautioned, however, that there were many problems left unresolved, including breakdowns in national distribution pipelines.
"We need to oversee the process, to promptly react in case of any failure and provide support for municipalities and regions," he said.
Europe is watching developments in the Russian energy sector as it struggles with soaring winter demand. Russia is among the primary suppliers of natural resources to Europe. Moscow, however, is in a deadlock with Minsk over oil export duties, sending jitters through a European community already anxious from 2009 gas disruptions.