At the same time as Russia has targeted railway lines as part of the effort to block U.S. arms shipments into Eastern Ukraine, Vladimir Putin has now followed through on the previous warning to stop Russian gas supplies unless payments are made in non-sanctioned Rubles.
Poland is obviously the primary target for retaliation here, as the NATO alliance is using Poland as the gateway for arms deliveries into Ukraine.
According to multiple reports from the EU Russia has halted gas shipments into Poland and Bulgaria. (Reuters) “Gazprom Russia’s gas export monopoly, suspended gas supplies “due to absence of payments in roubles”, as stipulated in a decree from Russian President Vladimir Putin that aims to soften the impact of sanctions.”
There are conflicting reports as to whether Germany is paying Russia, or whether they are trying to avoid running afoul of the NATO alliance by reducing Russian imports.
Ukraine President Zelenskyy is using the opportunity to reinforce his position that all European countries need to stop purchasing energy from Russia, or else they are not supporting Ukraine. However, it’s not as simple as it seems because multiple EU countries are dependent on Russia for energy products and there are no immediate alternatives. Russia is leveraging this dependency in an effort to break the western sanctions.
(NBC) – […] After months of threats, the Kremlin cut off gas supplies to two European Union nations Wednesday and warned others could be next. The long-feared move against the continent’s energy supply marks a dramatic escalation of Moscow’s bid to weaken the collective resolve of Ukraine’s allies as they send growing numbers of weapons to help Kyiv fight.
[…] Russian state-controlled energy giant Gazprom announced Wednesday it had halted gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland for failing to pay for gas in rubles, something Putin had demanded last month in response to tough sanctions imposed by the West on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. European buyers condemned Putin’s demand, saying it violated existing contracts with payments usually agreed on in dollars or euros, and called into question Russia’s reliability as a supplier.
[…] Russia is one of the world’s largest producers of petroleum and natural gas, and Europe is heavily reliant on imports from Russia for its energy supply. “In 2021, the European Union imported 155 billion cubic metres of natural gas from Russia, accounting for around 45% of EU gas imports and close to 40% of its total gas consumption,” according to a recent report from the International Energy Agency.
Meanwhile, Bulgaria imported more than 70 percent of its natural gas from Russia in 2020, E.U. data showed. In the same year, Poland relied on Russia for around 45 percent of its natural gas.
[…] Notably, the decision to cut off supplies to Poland and Bulgaria came the day after the United States and its allies gathered in Germany to pledge more heavy weapons for Ukraine as it steels its defenses for what could be a decisive battle in the eastern Donbas region. (read more)
Somehow, on top of the $14+ billion in direct aid to Ukraine, Joe Biden is likely to figure out a way to put the U.S. taxpayer on the hook for most of the EU energy problems in an effort to save face for the White House in a U.S. proxy war against Russia. Both wings of the UniParty congress are likely to support that effort.