NATO has Russia warning for Europe
Western Europe’s reliance on Russia as its main supplier of natural gas is a serious concern, and the continent needs to focus on diversifying its supplies, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned on Sunday.
Stoltenberg’s comments come as US-driven fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine remain high. Moscow stands accused of placing 100,000 troops on the border, with some alleging it is planning an attack. This claim has repeatedly been denied by the Kremlin, and it has also been played down by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
However, if Russia were to invade and if sanctions were to be placed on the country’s energy industry, gas and oil prices throughout the European continent could shoot up.
“We are concerned about the energy situation in Europe because it demonstrates the vulnerability of being too dependent on one supplier of natural gas, and that’s the reason why NATO allies agree that we need to work and focus on diversification of supplies,” Stoltenberg said.
According to Eurostat, the statistics body of the European Commission, the EU imports 41.1% of its natural gas from Russia, as well as 26.9% of its crude oil.
On Sunday, a joint statement by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and US President Joe Biden said that Washington and Brussels are working together “towards continued, sufficient, and timely supply of natural gas to the EU from diverse sources across the globe.”
Earlier this month, American news outlet Bloomberg reported that Germany had asked the EU and US to exempt the energy industry from any possible sanctions against Russia, supposedly worried that it could significantly damage oil and gas supplies to the continent.
This fear was also echoed by anonymous senior officials in London, who told The Times newspaper that the British government had been warned of soaring prices.