The Russian government has responded to statements made in a speech by UK energy secretary Amber Rudd last week, when she made reference to defending energy security from potential Moscow interference.

Rudd said Russian President Vladimir Putin would use gas supplies “as a tool of foreign policy” while warning energy bills would soar by £500 million a year if the UK left the EU. However the Russian Embassy in London described the comments as “surPutinprising and disappointing”.

“It misrepresents the situation and defies the logic of this business as it applies to Britain,” it stated.

The embassy added the UK gas market is one of the most diversified in the world and Russian gas supplies “which are relatively small within the UK’s energy balance will hardly have a significant impact on the country’s energy security”.

“Secondly, Russian gas comes to the UK through continental Europe, therefore Brexit could have quite an opposite effect, with potential increase in UK’s dependence on the LNG supply from Qatar. And finally, Russia does not use gas supplies as a tool of foreign policy.

“We consider the above comments of Ms Rudd to be made for ‘domestic consumption’ in the context of the EU referendum campaign. Why drag Russia into this domestic quarrel, which must be fought on the merits of the issue in question?”