Putin Halts Gas Supply to Europe, Pressuring EU on Ukraine War Sanctions

Dr. E.C. Beuck

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President Vladimir Putin of RussiaPresidential Executive Office of Russia

At President Putin's orders, Russia has halted gas supplies to Europe via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. Though Putin has claimed that this halt is a result of the punitive economic sanctions imposed by the West on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, it is clear to many that this is an effort to force Europe to drop the sanctions against his country.

The biggest energy crisis to strike Europe in decades, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said “It is precisely these sanctions that the Western states have introduced that have brought the situation to what we see now.” That being said, when asked if the supply would resume if sanctions were dropped, Peskov responded, “Of course. The very sanctions that prevent the maintenance of units, which prevent them from moving without appropriate legal guarantees, which prevent these legal guarantees from being given, and so on.”

While the leading Russian energy supplier Gazprom previously stated that western sanctions were at the heart of disruptions to their supplying Europe with gas leading into the winter months, the European Union responded by rejecting this claim, instead saying that Putin was attempting to weaponize Russia's gas exports in the face of Western sanctions.

As things stand, the speculation from some is that Russia is attempting to use record energy prices, as well as a concern about possible food shortages this winter in Europe, to pressure the European Union to strong-arm Ukraine into accepting a truce in the fighting that would favor Russian terms. The stance the European Union ends up taking will depend on whether they are willing to undermine Ukraine to stave off energy shortages inflicting suffering on their own people. If that does happen, they would likely need to be concerned about an emboldened Russia in the future, one who would likely continue to use its energy supplies to Europe as a weapon to achieve additional foreign policy goals, as this tactic will have proven its effectiveness yet again.

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Holding a PhD in Political Science, I write about current events and on political topics related to international relations, international law, conflict both between and within states, and the interactions between technology and politics.

Washington, DC
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