Russia: Double blockade of the West on Putin’s coffers

Russia: Double blockade of the West on Putin’s coffers
Russia: Double blockade of the West on Putin’s coffers

Form of total war takes the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with the conflict between the West and Moscow not taking place on traditional battlefields, but taking place daily in the living rooms of millions of European households. In particular, yesterday’s confirmation by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen that the Commission is preparing to impose a ceiling on the price of natural gas imported through pipelines as a countermeasure to the energy manipulation of Europe by Russia, in conjunction with the imposition of a ceiling on oil prices by the world’s seven most powerful economies (G7) were resulting in Moscow’s reflexive reaction, i.e. to cut off the flow of natural gas to Europe indefinitely, through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, causing energy suffocation in the Old Continent, ahead of winter.

Despite the Russian coldness, the fervor for reaction that the West showed yesterday with the double ceiling on natural gas and oil correspondingly, it seems to be spreading embarrassment to the Kremlin, which until now has been hoarding undisturbed hundreds of millions of euros, artificially reducing the available quantities of fossil fuels, with the aim of blackmailing Western societies and consequently Western leaderships to submit – even through tacit tolerance – to the his revisionist objections.

Having, to a large extent, set up the game to his measurements, the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, until recently opened and closed the cannulas of the flow of natural gas, causing at any moment artificial shocks in its movement, in order to reap huge benefits from the explosion of prices, at a time when fossil fuels (natural gas and oil) yield the 50% of total revenue to Russian coffers. In this light, the twin counter-offensive of the West aims to exert substantial financial pressure on Moscow in order to effectively prevent financing – with the its excess profits from energy– of the war in Ukraine, but also to feel the first serious effects of the imposition of Western sanctions.

The extent of Moscow’s annoyance with the double brake was conveyed by the former Prime Minister of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev, announcing that Russia is going to cut off the supply of gas to Europe if Brussels proceeds to impose a ceiling on Russian gas, thus responding with blackmail to the corresponding statements of the President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. The latter yesterday reiterated the EU’s intention to proceed with a ceiling on the price of natural gas, with Mr. Medvedev commenting that, in such a case, “there will simply be no Russian gas in Europe.”

However, a corresponding “warning” by Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister, Alexander Novak, to the G7 leaders, that in the event of a ceiling on oil, Russia will stop exports, fell on deaf ears. Despite Mr. Novak’s extortionate dilemma, the Finance Ministers of the 7 strongest economies in the world (USA, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Japan), “agreed (as of yesterday) to set a ceiling on the price of Russian oil during a teleconference,” the relevant announcement states. “The coalition may consider further action to ensure the effectiveness of the price cap. The price cap will be reviewed and revised if necessary,” the statement added.

The introduction of the ceiling on Russian oil resulted proposal by the Biden administrationwith the US Secretary of the Treasury, Janet Yellento point out that this helps achieve “our dual goals of putting pressure on global energy prices while depriving Putin of revenue to fund his brutal war in Ukraine,” as it is expected to de-escalate the gallop- in the USA especially- inflation.

The next steps

Beyond the imposition of caps, the G7 Finance Ministers called on all oil producing countries to increase oil production in order to reduce market volatility, despite objections from OPEC. For their part, the countries of the Alliance will prohibit ship insurance and providing financing to Russian oil carriers with prices above the cap, according to a report on the British government website. British Chancellor of the Exchequer Nadeem Zahawi said the move was a “personal priority” for him, saying: “We will limit Putin’s ability to finances the war of oil exports by banning services, such as insurance and financing, to ships carrying Russian oil above an agreed price ceiling,” while the majority of tankers remain in the hands of Western interests.

The double “raid” of the West on the Russian coffers through the ceiling on natural gas and oil (the EU has already imposed a ceiling on the latter) at the same time “frozen” indefinitely the supply of natural gas to Europe, from the Nord pipeline Stream 1, a completely expected development for the European leadership, but also for Berlin, as both described Moscow’s move as “expected”, but also “prepared” their storage tanks.

“Unfortunately, Gazprom’s move is not surprising. Using natural gas as a weapon will not change the EU’s resolve. We will accelerate our march towards it energy independence. Our duty is to protect our citizens and support the freedom of Ukraine ” commented on Twitter the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, while “on the occasion of Russia’s decision not to allow the flow of gas through Nord Stream at this time 1, liquefied natural gas LNG terminals, the associated storage levels and significant savings become even more important,” said Klaus Müller, President of the Bundesnetzagentur, the German gas network regulator, in a comment on the same social media. , adding that “it is good that Germany is now better prepared, but now it depends on each and every one of us”.

The indefinite interruption of Europe’s supply of Russian natural gas via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline “is part of Russia’s psychological war against us,” Michael Roth, the head of the German parliament’s foreign affairs committee, observed on Twitter, as no one knows the time required to repair it, since Gazprom cites a “technical reason” for its inactivity.

A reaction was recorded yesterday from the White House, as “unfortunately, it is not surprising that Russia continues to use energy as a tool at the expense of European consumers”, commented a representative of the National Security Council, to the Reuters agency.

Gazprom’s announcement

“It has been established engine oil leak by admixing sealant to the low and intermediate pressure rotor speed sensor cable terminals on the turbine during this maintenance work. Until the repair (…) natural gas transportation through Nord Stream will be completely suspended,” the group said, claiming that the engine oil leak was found in the main gas turbine at the Portovaya compressor station near St. Petersburg, dropping all burden of responsibility on the company Siemens Energy.

Specifically in its announcement, Gazprom also states that the turbine cannot operate safely until the leak is repaired and refrained from presenting a timetable for the resumption of natural gas supplies through the pipeline, which was due to resume operation in the early hours of the morning. today, after a three-day maintenance outage.
The reliability of the Russian natural gas pipeline Nord Stream 1 is threatened as only one turbine is operating at the main compression station, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov commented.

Blame game on the pipelines

However, the engine oil leak that, according to Gazprom, was detected in the last operating turbine of the Portovaya compressor station does not constitute a technical reason for the shutdown of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, Siemens Energy claimed. “Such leaks they do not usually affect operation of a turbine and can be sealed in place. It is a routine procedure in the context of maintenance work,” the German company said.

“In the past, too, such leaks did not lead to an outage. No maintenance work has been assigned to Siemens Energy at the moment, but we are waiting,” Siemens Energy noted, concluding that “regardless of this, we have already pointed out many times that there are many other turbines available at the Portovaya compressor station to operate the Nord Stream 1”.

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The article is in Greek

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