Russia: Reaction 'stronger than Putin expected' says Ricketts
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Russia supplies around 40 percent of Europe’s natural gas. Over the past year, it has applied pressure on the EU by reducing its gas supply, causing an energy crisis on the continent, with gas prices reaching record highs. In fact, for over 30 days running, Russia has been diverting gas away from the East through the Yamal-Europe pipeline.
As tensions continue to flare, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken sent Mr Putin a dire warning, saying that they are trying to ensure Russia can no longer “weaponise” its energy supply.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said: “As we’re taking steps to ensure that the global energy supply isn’t disrupted, that too is an important focus, should Russia choose to weaponise its natural gas by cutting off supply to Europe even more than its already done.
“We’re in discussion with governments and major produces around the world, about surging their capacity.
“We’re engaged in detailed conversations with our allies and partners about coordinating our response including how best to deploy their energy stockpiles.
“All of these are aimed at mitigating price shocks and ensuring that people in the US and around the world have the energy they need no matter what Russia decides to do.
Russia has been accused of weaponising its gas supply to force the EU to speed up the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would double Russia’s gas exports to the continent.
Analysts fear that the pipeline will only increase the EU’s dependence on Russia for its energy, and could be used as leverage by the Kremlin to prevent any action against it should it attack Ukraine.
“All told, our actions over the past week have sharpened the choice facing Russia now.
“We’ve laid out a diplomatic path, we’ve lined up steep consequences should Russia choose further aggression.
“We step forward more support for Ukraine’s security and economy and we and our allies and partners are united across the board.
“Now we continue to press forward and prepare. It remains up to Russia to decide how to respond.
“We’re ready either way.”
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Shortages and rising prices have left the bloc scrambling to resolve an emerging energy crisis, but if Russia was to further reduce supplies it could plunge the EU into chaos.
So far, its state-owned gas giant, Gazprom, has argued that it has been honouring its long-term contracts and has denied a deliberate gas squeeze.
Tensions have been running high between Ukraine and Russia with the former fearing invasion as Putin is said to have sent 100,000 troops to Ukraine.
Washington’s state department spokesperson Ned Price revealed on Wednesday the Biden administration was “working with Germany” to ensure the European nation could withstand the loss of the pipeline.
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