Russia on the Verge of a New Energy War
Once again, Vladimir Putin’s Russia has proved itself wholly unable to carry on productive, friendly relations with its nearest neighbors.
Last week, in response to libelous, provocative unilateral Russian threats to shut down gas supplies in the event of payment default or “theft” of gas, Ukraine announced that “it would double the fees that Russia must pay to transport natural gas through Ukrainian territory to the rest of Europe.” Russia called the announcement “political blackmail,” yet Ukraine has not been late on any payments to Russia this year and there have been no allegations of siphoning.
Russia’s crude threats are the same ones the world heard last year, and Ukraine’s response was predictable as well. The reasons for Russia’s aggression against Ukraine are perfectly clear.
First, Russia is hurting, and hurting badly, as it has seen demand for its natual gas plummet and been forced to back away from minimum supply contracts by tough Ukrainian negotiators. Revenues from gas sales have fallen through the floor, and it is in Russia’s interests to destabilize gs markets with panic so that nervous buyers will bid up prices.
Second, Ukraine will hold presidential elections in mid-January of next year, and Russia wants to destabilize the Ukrainian political enviornment in the hopes that pro-Russian candidate will steal the national leadership and direct Ukraine back into a position of subservience to Moscow.
It’s just that simple. Russia has been, is and will continue to be engaged in cold war with Ukraine, recklessly indifferent to the consequences both for itself and for the world. Governed by a proud KGB spy, Russia is capable of nothing better. For this reason, it stands utterly alone in the world, having alienated nations that should be friends and driven others into the position of outright enemies.
The world simply cannot allow Russia to continue terrorizing its neighbors while promising them it will be an “reliable energy partner.” It’s clear that Russia’s desire to inflict punishment is far stronger than its desire to be responsible, it’s desire to acquire a neo-Soviet empire much more important to Russia than being respected or admired as a partner of civilized nations.
It is time for the world to face down Russia in Ukraine.