The ongoing natural gas war between Russia and the Ukraine, which although will likely be resolved soon, has lasted long enough to achieve the objective paradoxically sought by both Moscow and Kiev: it has scared the hell out of the European Union. Naturally all conversations are turning toward the urgency of speeding up investment and development of alternative supply routes – i.e., the Nord Stream pipeline and options from North Africa. Obviously, Russia stands to benefit from both these options.
The Telegraph presents the rise of Nord Stream from this crisis as a conspiracy led by Russia and Germany at the expense of the rest of the European Union – and guess who was in Moscow for the opportunistic pitch of his pipeline?
Herr Schroeder was in Moscow on Wednesday, the same day Gazprom cut off the Ukraine, oozing oily cynicism and snuggling up to Vladimir Putin, Russia’s leader whatever the job title of the day.
“Nord Stream is an extremely important project to strengthen the energy security not only of Germany but of all of Europe,” he said.
Mr Putin, direct as ever, is quite open that one of Russia’s strategic interests in stoking the energy crisis is to discredit the Ukraine and to promote Nord Stream.
“The current situation only makes even more relevant our main task, our plans for the construction of a gas pipeline system along the bottom of the Baltic Sea.” (…)
The energy crisis applies some considerable moral pressure. MrPutin, again, made the agenda clear: “If we had already built thispipeline, if no-one had hampered us, it would already be operatingthrough the Baltic Sea.”
Poland and other East European countries fear that with Nord Streambypassing their territories to benefit Germany it will become much moredifficult to rally the EU to stand up to Russia using energy as apolitical weapon.
It may well be that, whatever the deal on the latest Ukraine crisis,Russia has won by dividing Europe to rule via Germany and Nord Stream.