Putin’s plan to cripple EU as Moscow accused of intentionally sparking energy shortage

Germany's reliance on Russian gas addressed by Eva Maydell

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The Russian president has entered stage two of his so-called “special operation” in Ukraine, concentrating his forces in the east of the country around the Donbas region. Yet as pressure mounts on Putin from the west, plans to return the favour in kind are being considered as Russia uses its energy supplies as a coercive tool against Europe.

One analyst believes Putin’s plans involve a secret plot to stop European and western forces becoming physically involved in Ukraine.

Alan Riley, a non-resident senior fellow with the Atlantic Council Global Energy Centre says: “It’s much worse than everyone thinks.”

Speaking of how the energy crisis faced by Europe is key to the conflict, he added: “The recent winter energy crisis was exceptional.

“And we now realise it was Russia softening up Europe for the war.”

Mr Riley believes by piling on financial pressure by making energy more expensive, the EU will be crippled when it comes to having the financial or moral will to enter into a conflict.

With energy prices rising rapidly, the UK could soon see average energy bills hitting around £3,000 per year for a standard household.

Further across Europe, France, Germany, Italy and Spain will also see significant increases in the prices of their energy.

For Europe, around 40 percent of gas comes from Russia, making it a key supplier in maintaining Europe’s homes and factories with vital energy.

From Britain, the caveat lies in the fact only 3 percent of gas comes from Russia, with the rest coming from the North Sea, Norway and the EU.

Russia has already started to threaten Poland and Bulgaria by cutting gas supplies to the nations that are both vocally and physically supporting Ukraine.

Yet for Mr Riley, he believed the plot by Russia stemmed back prior to the invasion of Ukraine.

He said Russia started preparations for the war in the spring of 2021 by failing to build up storage supplies for gas customers to use the following winter.

This inaction, he added, pushed energy prices up along with the cost of long-term supply contracts.

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Initially, Mr Riley believed this tactic was in order to push through the Nord Stream II pipeline, however, his thoughts have now changed since the invasion of Ukraine.

He told Unherd that the aim was to “soften up the EU” in the hope it would not be able to afford helping Ukraine after the invasion.

Speaking of the rising costs of living in the UK, Mr Riley said that energy difficulties for Britons are a direct result of Putin’s preparations for war.

Has Putin’s plans to hijack energy proven to be a success? Can he use energy to hold Europe to ransom? Should the European Union boycott Russian energy… can it afford to? Let us know what you think by CLICKING HERE and joining the debate in our comments section below – Every Voice Matters!

Russia currently enjoys the world’s largest proven reserves of natural gas, as well as being the world’s third-largest oil producer.

In 2014, oil and gas accounted for 60 percent of exports from Russia and accounted for 30 percent of the nation’s GDP.

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