Russia has decided to admit to the weaponization of natural gas. On Monday, Moscow said it will withhold natural gas until “sanctions are lifted”.
In response to the West’s weaponization of currencies, the Kremlin said that Russia’s gas supplies to Europe via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline will not resume in full until the “collective West” lifts sanctions against Moscow over its “invasion” of Ukraine.
Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, blamed EU, UK, and Canadian sanctions for Russia’s failure to deliver gas through the key pipeline, which delivers gas to Germany from St Petersburg via the Baltic sea.
“The problems pumping gas came about because of the sanctions western countries introduced against our country and several companies,” Peskov said, according to the Interfax news agency. “There are no other reasons that could have caused this pumping problem. –ZeroHedge
On Friday, Gazprom said it would halt gas supplies through Nord Stream 1 because of a technical fault, which it blamed on difficulties repairing German-made turbines in Canada. In the latest confirmation of who has the upper hand in the ongoing commodity feud, the EU had already rolled back some sanctions against Russia explicitly to allow the turbines to be repaired. European leaders have said there is nothing to prevent Gazprom from supplying the continent with gas and had accused Russia of “weaponizing” its energy exports, according to a report by ZeroHedge.
It’s been pretty obvious to those watching and paying attention that Russia fully intended to use the leverage with natural gas they have against the west. Once sanctions were placed on Moscow, the tightening of natural gas supplies began.
Neither side will be willing to ease back on its approach to punishing the other, so moments after Russia’s comments, European Union Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, twitted that “Putin is using energy as a weapon by cutting supply and manipulating our energy markets”, which of course he is doing in response to the west’s weaponization of currencies and capital flows.
The @EU_Commission proposal will aim to:
• Reduce electricity demand (peaks)
• Price cap on 🇷🇺 pipeline gas
• Help vulnerable consumers & businesses with revenue from the energy sector
• Enable support to electricity producers facing liquidity challenges linked to volatility
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) September 5, 2022
This is not poised to end well for either side, and rhetoric continues to advance and get more aggressive.