Putin given 'vast power' over European economies says expert
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It comes as Vladimir Putin deliberately decreased gas volumes travelling into Europe in the hope to speed up the certification of Nord Stream 2. The new pipeline will see gas transited from Russia into Germany, bypassing Poland and Ukraine. But after getting hit with delays, certification remains suspended.
Meanwhile, Mr Putin’s gas squeeze has sent Europe’s gas prices skyrocketing to record highs, with the latest move even seeing November prices surge above the October record.
At the same time, tensions have been escalating as Mr Putin reportedly deployed around 100,000 troops to the Ukraine-Russia border, sparking fears of an invasion.
Brandon Weichert, a geopolitical analyst, told Express.co.uk that Europe’s dependence on Russian gas will mean they will eventually have to cave to Moscow’s pressure.
He said: “I do believe that Europe will have no choice but to play nice with Russia in order to get more affordable natural gas pumping to the continent.”
This is despite the West issuing their own threats to discourage Mr Putin from invading Ukraine.
The Russian President was warned there would be a “high price” to pay for Russian aggression by new German Chancellor Olaf Sholz.
US President Joe Biden called on Germany to abandon the pipeline altogether if Russia invades.
But Nord Stream 2 is not the only planned pipeline that could hand Russia more control over Europe.
Russia has also struck a deal for a second Power of Siberia pipeline with China.
It is expected to start operating in 2030 and will be owned by China National Petroleum, and Gazprom.
It would travel through Mongolia and could deliver up to 50 billion cubic meters of Russian gas to China each year.
Mr Weichert explained: “The move gives Russia more money and allows for them to evade the sanctions that the West has been subjecting Moscow to since their unlawful annexation of Crimea in 2014.
“As for Europe, I don’t think it will ease prices for them in the near-term so long as Russia is diverting gas away from Europe–and as long as Germany is refusing to finalize the Nord Stream II pipeline.”
Mr Weichert said that it is inevitable that Russia will come out on top, as the West will have to give in to Mr Putin’s demands to keep gas prices stable.
He said: “That eventuality, paired with Russia’s new pipeline with China, gives Moscow an immense strategic advantage in the energy sector which will undoubtedly translate to a more aggressive and assertive Russian military and foreign policy.”
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Mr Weichert said of China and Russia’s partnership:” The new Sino-Russian gas pipeline will give Russia increased control/leverage over other countries.
“It also shows how Putin’s regime is following through on previous talks about pivoting Russian foreign policy to the East.”
This comes after the Biden administration claimed that Nord Stream 2 could in fact be used against Mr Putin as leverage.
National security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters at the White House: “It is leverage for the West.
“If Vladimir Putin wants to see gas flow through that pipeline, he may not want to take the risk of invading Ukraine.”
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