Gas prices: Putin ‘going to keep squeezing’ says expert

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The Kremlin’s Anti-Satellite test (ASAT) this week blasted a satellite into 1,500 and forced NASA astronauts on the ISS to flee to their spaceships. Meanwhile, Russia is causing trouble back down on Earth too, as almost 100,000 Russian troops have been deployed to the Ukraine-Russia border, prompting fears of an imminent invasion. Brandon Weichert, author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower, does not think these incidents are unrelated. He says there are going to be dramatic consequences right around the corner.

He told Express.co.uk: “I would say that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin is a master strategist who is using all of the tools of statecraft to achieve his objectives.

“The dazzling ASAT demonstration was a form of radical deterrence: Putin is saying ‘hey, look, I know that you think you can stop a Russian invasion of Ukraine by flexing your muscles.

“’But, what happens if I cut the tendons linking your muscles together? What happens if I throw sand in your eyes and cut off your ears while you’re doing all of that flexing, America?’”

And Mr Weichert thinks that conflict is on the way soon, and he doubts that Washington will step in to save the day.

He said: “By debilitating-or indicating he’s willing to debilitate- America’s vital, yet vulnerable satellite constellations in orbit at the outset of any aggressive action against Ukraine, Putin is hoping that he can get the West to stay out of his way long enough for him to achieve his aims.

“Judging just how panic-stricken and confused our [the US] response to his dangerous ASAT test was, I’d say that Putin knows fully that Biden and the Western alliance will back down once Russian tanks and ‘little green men’ start rushing across the border.

He added: “And they will, soon because no one will stop them. Think of the Soviet Union’s actions in Hungary.

“The same thing will happen with Russia in Ukraine in 2021 or 2022.

“The question will be: how much damage is the Biden Administration willing to let America and her allies endure for the sake of a country, like Ukraine, which cannot be defended by the West unless the West is willing to go to World War 3 in order to stop Russia?

“The likely answer, ultimately, is we won’t. Putin is banking on that.”

Tensions between Russia and Ukraine have been soaring in recent months after Mr Putin decreased supplies of gas flowing into Ukraine.

Mr Putin has been accused by the Ukraine of “weaponising” a gas pipeline, Nord Stream 2, that will transit gas from Russia to Germany, bypassing Poland and Ukraine.

In the hope to avoid EU tariffs and speed up certification, he tightened gas supplies travelling into Europe through other pipelines.

But the move backfired after German regulators suspended certification and have requested that German law will apply to the part of the pipeline travelling through Germany.

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Mr Putin will no doubt be even more furious in this latest move.

Yuriy Vitrenko, CEO of Ukraine gas giant Naftogaz warned last month that Mr Putin’s actions taken on Nord Stream 2 could lead to an all-out war.

He told Express.co.uk: “The worst-case scenario is that there could be no gas flowing through Ukraine, it would allow him to blackmail Ukraine so could lead to full-scale war.

“For example, forget about Crimea, take back Donbass, the occupied regions, but on Putin’s terms, and basically the whole of Ukraine would become part of the Russian world.”

Mr Biden waived sanctions on the pipeline back in May, and if Mr Weichert is correct, then the US lack of intervention in the region is likely to continue.

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