By Jacob Paul | The Express UK
VLADIMIR PUTIN’s military plot to siege Ukraine could be “dead in the water” after Germany slammed the breaks on Russia’s gas project, Express.co.uk can exclusively reveal.
The Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which is planned to transit gas from Russia into Germany, bypassing Ukraine and Poland, had its certification suspended yesterday. Germany’s energy regulator temporarily halted the project after it said that the consortium behind the pipeline, Switzerland’s Nord Stream 2 AG, needed to form a subsidiary company under German law to gain an operating license.
The move may provide a lifeline to Ukraine, who reportedly have nearly 100,000 Russian troops stationed at the Russia-Ukraine border as many fear an imminent land grab.
Brandon Weichert, author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower, told Express.co.uk: “The Europeans are dependent on Russian energy sources.
“Putin needs to claim certain former Soviet states, like Ukraine, in order to extend Russia’s defensive perimeter farther to its West, thereby permanently stunting NATO/EU growth and, possibly, allowing for the Kremlin to work toward breaking apart the NATO/EU entities entirely.
“Putin plans on making Ukraine a key element of his budding Eurasian Economic Union (a coalition consisting of Central Asian states and some Eastern European states, all led by Russia).
“Ukraine is the key component of that proposed EEU.”
This morning, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Ukraine Defence Minister Oleksii Yuriyovych have released a joint statement signalling their commitment to preventing a Russian invasion.
They said: “Ukraine and the UK are strategic partners in security and defence.
“Our governments have no desire to be adversarial or seek in any way to strategically encircle or undermine the Russian Federation. We are concerned by Russia’s military build-up and activity around the borders of Ukraine.
“Ukraine’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity is indisputable.
“The UK stands shoulder to shoulder with the people of Ukraine and will continue its long-standing determination to support them.”
But Germany’s decision to suspend Nord Stream 2 may have already provided a hammer blow to help the West.
Russia’s economy relies in a large part on oil and gas exports, with sales contributing as much as one-fifth of the nation’s GDP.
Siemon T. Wezeman, a Senior Researcher for the Stockholm International Peace Institute said: “The income of the Russian Government is highly dependent on revenue from oil and gas exports.
“After the plans for 2020–22 were published in late 2019, oil prices entered a period of turbulence.
“These economic factors could constrain Russia’s future military spending.”
With the West piling on to back Ukraine, and many EU countries now looking to turn away from Russian gas, this moment could signal a swing in the balance.
Mr Weichert added: “Putin plans on making Ukraine a key element of his budding Eurasian Economic Union (a coalition consisting of Central Asian states and some Eastern European states, all led by Russia).
It saw European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen admit that the bloc is “vulnerable” to Russia’s gas dominance.
Now, energy ministers in the EU are looking at ways to steer clear of the Kremlin.
Kyiv’s relations with Russia plummeted in 2014 when Moscow annexed the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine and supported pro-Russian separatists in a conflict in Donbass, eastern Ukraine.
The conflict has killed more than 14,000 people.
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