Today Gazprom, the major Russian state energy company, has officially suspended its gas supplies to Latvia. Though Gazprom officially justifies the business move by accusing Latvia of violating the conditions that it previously agreed to in order to purchase gas, there has been no details released sharing what these violations actually are.
Fortunately for Latvia, the amount of gas consumed in the country only comprises 27% of total energy consumption, and Senior Economics Ministry Official Edijs Saicans of Latvia has said that the move by Gazprom is not expected to have a major impact on the country as a result. Similar suspensions of gas deliveries have already occurred for Russian exports to the countries of Bulgaria, Finland, Poland, Denmark, and the Netherlands after these countries refused to pay in roubles (the Russian currency). Continued concerns by the European Union that Russia will continue to weaponize their gas and oil exports to Europe in the lead up to the winter months in order to pressure them to end aid to Ukraine has led them to pass legislation calling for states to cut down their gas consumption by 15% in the months ahead.
For those following the recent heightened violence of the Ukraine War by Russian forces, and the leveraging of everything from food to gas to civilians by the Russians to try to end the war on their terms, this recent action against Latvia is not surprising. The recent announcement that Russia was considering expanding its war goals to include other areas of Ukraine, while not surprising, just go to show that President Putin will likely not be satisfied until he takes a significant portion of Ukrainian territory. With that in mind, he will likely continue to manipulate the lever of gas and oil supplies to Europe in every effort to get closer to a settlement of the Ukraine war that meets Russian goals.