EU humiliated: Two furious nations break ranks to counter Putin’s energy threat themselves | Science | News


Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, European countries have been seeking to end their dependence on Russian fossil fuel exports. The bloc, which relies heavily on Russian gas, has been vulnerable to Russian President Vladimir Putin – and he has been accused of deliberately restricting energy supplies over the past year in order to exert political pressure.

The EU has paid Moscow £18.7bn a month for fossil fuel imports since the invasion began and now Poland and Lithuania seem to have had enough.

Yesterday, the two countries officially launched a new 508-kilometer Poland-Lithuania Gas Interconnector (GIPL), which connects neighboring countries and enables gas exchanges.

Speaking to Politico, Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė said the pipeline “is a crucial step towards energy independence for the whole region, given the current geopolitical situation”.

She added: “[The] The Kremlin regime is dependent on oil and gas revenues.

“Every reduction in Russia’s income from energy sources has [a] crucial impact on the Russian economy and reduces the possibilities of the Kremlin to finance the war against Ukraine.

Polish President Andrzej Duda said that “the interconnection between the natural gas transport systems of Poland and Lithuania”, as well as the pipelines built through Latvia and Estonia, were a direct response to “a another blackmail attempt” by Russia over gas supplies.

He added: “Thanks to projects like this, we are giving ourselves an alternative, the possibility of deliveries from markets other than Russia.

“I am happy that this interconnection serves us and provides diversification to a large extent for the other countries of the European Union.”

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As Poland and Lithuania move forward with their pipeline, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen faces a headache in Brussels as experts warn Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is “handicapping “the bloc’s ability to sanction Russia.

Earlier this week, the European Commission proposed a sixth sanctions package that includes an oil embargo aimed at depleting Russia’s sources of revenue and stopping fueling Vladimir Putin’s war machine in Ukraine.

But the EU effort may not deliver on Mr Orbán’s refusal to board, as he currently opposes a full ban on Russian imports unless Hungary receives an exemption.

The European Union imports about 25% of its oil from Russia and 40% of its gas, which is not currently included in the package but would be the next step, if the EU can go ahead with all its Member States.

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