Ukraine a Turning Point in Russia’s Uneasy Energy Link to European Union

"Putin's threats galvanize sentiment in Europe to end dependence on Russian natural gas, with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline the first potential sacrifice."

"Even in the long history of world leaders using energy as a foreign policy weapon, President Joe Biden’s threat last week was unusual for both its reach and its display of confidence.

“If Russia invades—that means tanks or troops crossing the border of Ukraine again—then there will no longer be a Nord Stream 2,” Biden said Monday. “We will bring an end to it.”

Policy experts have little doubt that the United States, perhaps uniquely among nations, has the economic clout to follow through on Biden’s pledge to reach across the Atlantic and kill Russia’s new $11 billion natural gas pipeline to Europe. They are less certain that the prospect of losing the ability to sell gas through the Nord Stream 2, which now lies dormant beneath the Baltic Sea, will be sufficient to deter Russian President Vladimir Putin from invading the former Soviet state. Last week, Putin’s forces began major military drills in Belarus, Russia’s ally on Ukraine’s northern border, in an escalation of the troop build-up that has been underway for weeks.

But whatever happens in the weeks ahead—a cooling of the tension, or the worst military conflict in Europe since World War II—experts believe the clash already has become a turning point for the uneasy energy relationship between Russia and Europe."

Marianne Lavelle reports for Inside Climate News February 12, 2022.

Source: Inside Climate News, 02/14/2022