Putin will ‘push US administration to edge’ says Mike Pompeo
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European gas prices surged above 30 percent on Tuesday as after continued low supplies from Russia sparked concerns of an energy crisis. It marked the fifteenth day in a row that the Russian President had diverted gas flow to the East through the Yamal-Europe pipeline, which usually brings gas to the West. Meanwhile, tension with the West has also been escalating over fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine after there were reports of around 100,000 Russian troops piling up at the Russia-Ukraine border.
The US has voiced its opposition to Russia’s potential military aggression and appears willing to step in and intervene.
Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said in a statement: “President Biden made clear that the United States and its allies and partners will respond decisively if Russia further invades Ukraine.”
But Dr Thomas O’Donnell, a geopolitical analyst from the Hertie School of Governance, has claimed that Russia’s control over global gas supplies might prevent the US from protecting Ukraine.
He said that because the West is still largely reliant on Russia for its gas supplies, Mr Putin has a geostrategic advantage and can get what he wants without caving to pressure from the EU and the US.
Dr O’Donnell told Express.co.uk: “If Putin wanted to assist Europe at present with alleviating its dangerously low levels of gas storage – which could well run dry if the winter is cold and the wind does not blow sufficiently for the windmills – he would take the spot market contracts being offered and flood gas across the Yamal-Europe pipeline (via Belarus-Poland into Germany and the EU) and/or via the huge unused pipelines that cross Ukraine.
“These systems are virtually unused by Moscow at present an offer at least three-to-four times the volume of Nord Stream 2.”
Nord Stream 2 is a newly built gas pipeline that will transit gas from Russia to Germany, bypassing Ukraine and Poland.
It has been hit with delays and Mr Putin has been accused of deliberately restricting Europe’s gas supplies to speed up its certification.
But Dr O’Donnell claimed that it is Russia reluctance to use other gas routes to boost supplies to Europe which is gifting the Russian President extra control.
He said: “Putin’s refusal to use these long-established traditional routes, in the midst of a severe EU-British gas shortage, is clear evidence of his using gas as a geostrategic level.
“He is clearly trying to blackmail Europe and America into agreeing to abandon Ukraine – agreeing it not ever be allowed to join the EU and especially not to join NATO – in return for gas in its hour of need.“
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Russia will enter into talks with NATO and the US next week to discuss the Ukraine issue.
Moscow has made a list of security demands to the West and threatened military action if they are ignored.
These include NATO and the US not offering membership to Ukraine, and restricting the transatlantic alliance’s deployments in EU countries close to Russia.
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