Russia steps up energy role as Europe plunges into crisis: Deputy PM blames ‘short-sighted politics’

Russia blamed European leaders and their “short-sighted” policies as the continent suffers an energy crisis with record prices and the looming threat of a possible invasion to make matters worse.

A global gas supply shortage has pushed European energy bills to record highs over the past month. Europe receives about 30% of its natural gas imports from Russia, and leaders have accused Gazprom, a Russian state-owned energy multinational, of manipulating energy prices by limiting supply.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak hit back on Saturday, saying Europe had only itself to blame.

FILE PHOTO: Russian Alexander Novak arrives at the OPEC headquarters in Vienna, Austria December 5, 2019. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/File Photo

Novak blamed “the short-sighted policy of the European Union and the European Commission, which for many years deliberately moved away from long-term contracts” for the crisis.

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“Incorrect planning, short-term energy policy is a headache for European politicians, which they try to pass on to others,” Novak said. Russian public television. He touted Russia’s supply and “enormous resources”, saying Russia had no trouble fulfilling all of its long-term supply contracts last year.

16 November 2021, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Lubmin: View of the pipeline systems and shut-off devices at the gas receiving station of the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline.  The Higher Administrative Court (OVG) of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania hears a lawsuit brought by Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) against Nord Stream 2. DUH had filed a complaint in the summer of 2020 for a review of Nord's construction and operating permit Stream 2 by Stralsund Mining Authority.

16 November 2021, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Lubmin: View of the pipeline systems and shut-off devices at the gas receiving station of the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline. The Higher Administrative Court (OVG) of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania hears a lawsuit brought by Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) against Nord Stream 2. DUH had filed a complaint in the summer of 2020 for a review of Nord’s construction and operating permit Stream 2 by Stralsund Mining Authority.
(Photo by Stefan Sauer/picture alliance via Getty Images)

“Also, we delivered a lot more to Germany, Turkey, other countries that chose their volumes,” he explained.

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Russia’s inactive Nord Stream 2 pipeline and cooler weather in recent months have triggered a price jump across Europe, but the price spike may have resulted from a number of factors, including a sharp drop in temperature as countries suffered weak winds and some nuclear blackouts in France, increasing dependence on electricity. natural gas electricity.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken attends the first session of the NATO Foreign Ministers Meeting in Riga, Latvia on November 30, 2021. - NATO Foreign Ministers meet in the Latvian capital to discuss how to counter a Russian military buildup on the Ukrainian border amid fears the Kremlin could be preparing to invade.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken attends the first session of the NATO Foreign Ministers Meeting in Riga, Latvia on November 30, 2021. – NATO Foreign Ministers meet in the Latvian capital to discuss how to counter a Russian military buildup on the Ukrainian border amid fears the Kremlin could be preparing to invade.
(Photo by GINTS IVUSKANS/AFP via Getty Images)

The energy crisis highlights a vulnerability in Europe that some US politicians fear Russia is casually exploiting through its Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, as well as fears that Russia is preparing to invade Ukraine.

Germany in November suspended approval of Nord Stream 2 until the Swiss-registered company transfers assets and staff budget to its German subsidiary.

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But Germany had doubled its reliance on the pipeline before the suspension, putting it and other European countries in a tough spot as winter approached. This too close half of its six remaining nuclear reactors this month, despite arguments that nuclear power can help Germany meet its climate targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

The German government has claimed that dismantling all nuclear power plants by 2022 and then phasing out the use of coal by 2030 will not affect the country’s energy security.

Germany’s energy dependence on Russia was highlighted last week as senators introduced competing bills to check Russia’s influence and military aggression against the Ukraine. On Friday, US officials reported that Russia had sent agents to Ukraine to carry out a “false flag” operation and provide an excuse for an invasion.

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A renewed conflict with Russia would see the energy crisis deepen.

The US State Department has held talks with several international energy companies regarding contingency plans should Russia proceed with an invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reported. State Department officials approached the companies to ask where additional supplies could come from if needed, and the companies sadly told the United States that the global supply of glass remained limited.

Mary I. Bruner