Russia’s gas blackmail to backfire: ‘Losing 90% of revenue!’

Ukrainian soldiers shoot down Russian jet

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The EU has announced plans to cap the price of Russian gas just hours after Vladimir Putin rubbished the idea. Brussels and Moscow remain at odds as Russia continues to withhold gas in response to sanctions placed on the country following the invasion of Ukraine. Putin even warned that Russia would stop supplies of gas completely if the EU followed through with the plan. He said: “We will not supply gas, oil, coal, heating oil – we will not supply anything.”

The withholding of gas has threatened a crisis in Europe, with many economic experts warning that there could be recession across the continent.

But Bill Browder, an American financier and prominent critic of the Kremlin, tells Times Radio that Putin’s “game of chicken” will hurt his country’s economy the most.

He said: “There is a solution which doesn’t come from us, but comes from Putin himself. Putin is now withholding the export of gas to Europe through the Nord Stream pipeline.

“Europe was the buyer of 90 percent of Russia’s gas. If he doesn’t sell the gas, he doesn’t get the money.

“What he is doing is playing chicken but, this is really important, we can eventually find other sources of gas. If the prices of gas remain at these levels people will consume less and replace their consumption of gas with other types of energy.

If Putin does this for any length of time his customers in Europe will stop buying from him, and if they do that he is bust. Gazprom is the main source of revenue for the Russian government.

“If he doesn’t have that money, he doesn’t achieve his objectives because of his vindictive behaviour.”

Before the invasion of Ukraine, the EU got roughly 40 percent of its gas supply from Russia. But European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen said Wednesday

She added: “We must cut Russia’s revenues which Putin uses to finance this atrocious war against Ukraine.”

The EU has sought to find gas from elsewhere, and found success in July when the bloc signed a deal with Azerbaijan.

Gas imports from the country are set to double by 2027 through the Southern Gas Corridor, which transported gas from Azerbaijan to Europe since 2020.

However, the International Energy Agency Director Fatih Birol warned at the time that the EU still needs more gas deals to make up for its loss of Russian resources.

He said: “It is categorically not enough to just rely on gas from non-Russian sources – these supplies are simply not available in the volumes required to substitute for missing deliveries from Russia.

“This will be the case even if gas supplies from Norway and Azerbaijan flow at maximum capacity, if deliveries from North Africa stay close to last year’s levels, if domestic gas production in Europe continues to follow recent trends, and if inflows of LNG [liquefied natural gas] increase at a similar record rate as they did in the first half of this year.”

Human Rights groups also criticised the deal between Brussels and Baku given Azerbaijan’s track record of oppression and corruption.


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Philippe Dam, acting EU director at Human Rights Watch, said: “The reality is that Azerbaijan authorities have been famous for cracking down on civil society activists investigating corruption, especially when it comes to oil and gas.”

While the gas row rumbles on between Europe and Moscow, Ukraine’s soldiers continue to fight Russian forces.

Ukraine has launched a counteroffensive to try and claim back important areas such as the southern city of Kherson.

It has also been reported that, on Wednesday, Ukrainian troops launched a surprise attack near the city of Kharkiv – Ukraine’s second largest city.

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