Vladimir Putin’s deadline for shutting off Russian natural gas is here. So far, the gas is still flowing to Europe.
The Russian president delivered an ultimatum Thursday to “unfriendly” nations to pay for their energy in rubles starting April 1, April Fool’s Day, or risk being cut off from vital supplies.
Europe rejected the ultimatum.
Some hope it’s a bluff. Putin doesn’t seem like the type to bluff.
And, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday that Russia would not turn off gas supplies to Europe immediately.
Europe cannot keep its economy running for long without Russian energy.
Europe gets about 40% of its natural gas from Russia, carried on pipelines through Belarus, Ukraine, and Poland or under the Baltic Sea. Germany is the biggest buyer.
The German government this week activated the first of three stages of a crisis management plan that could ultimately result in energy rationing and is appealing to the public to use as little as possible. Part of their strategy is to ration gas.
Any significant loss of Russian supply would likely tip Europe’s biggest economy into recession — and potentially the wider region too. Soaring gas prices are already making energy-intensive industries unprofitable and causing a great deal of pain for many. Survey data published Friday showed German manufacturing at its lowest ebb in 18 months. It’s the same throughout Europe.
The EU, UK, and the US shot from the hip with these sanctions. They don’t think these days. They all march around with the prevailing opinions.
FOREIGN MINISTER LAVROV WANTS TO BREAK UP NATO
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is somewhat optimistic about a Ukraine peace deal since Kiev and Western supporters seem to agree to Ukraine’s future neutral status without NATO membership.
Yet Russia’s military offensive in Ukraine is not “just about Ukraine, its neutrality,” but rather a “question of [the] world order,” Lavrov claimed. Russia’s top diplomat went on to suggest that the US has now suppressed all attempts at establishing autonomy by Europe, with the EU states are now completely in lockstep with Washington. According to Lavrov, the bloc’s members have reconciled themselves to this status.
The West’s real endgame is the establishment of a unipolar world, Lavrov insisted. He’s probably referencing The Great Reset. That is a problem.
Russia has wanted to break up NATO and yesterday China said NATO should have disbanded when the Soviet Union disbanded.
The Russian foreign minister said that the US and its allies were trying to conceal their true objectives, portraying their confrontation with Russia and some other nations as a “battle between democracies and autocracies.” However, according to Lavrov, the West itself has become one big autocracy with the US at the helm.