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18 Aug, 2022 02:12

Russia names main victim of US energy ‘victory’

Ambassador Anatoly Antonov calls the US blocking of Nord Stream 2 a defeat for the EU rather than for Russia
Russia names main victim of US energy ‘victory’

Western Europe’s current woes with natural gas supplies are due to US pressure to block the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from coming online, the Russian ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov claimed in a TV interview on Wednesday.

With this move, he said, the US won a victory not so much over Russia, but over much of European industry, which now has to rely on far more expensive American “molecules of freedom.”

“No matter how much Washington tries to present Russia as an unreliable supplier, this is not true,” Antonov told Russia-24 in an interview that aired Wednesday evening. “The problems of our buyers began solely as a result of sanctions and restrictions imposed or inspired by the US,” the ambassador added. “We are ready to sell to everyone who needs inexpensive and high-quality resources.”

He cited the example of Nord Stream 2, the pipeline under the Baltic Sea that was supposed to deliver natural gas from Russia to Germany. It was completed last year but Berlin halted its certification in February – prior to the escalation of hostilities in Ukraine – and refused to make it operational despite appeals from German industry and local officials to do so.

“The pipeline was ready to launch and could solve almost all the supply problems that arose with [Nord Stream 1] due to the sanctions confusion,” Antonov said. “The only thing missing is political will, the EU states just need to press the button and the pipeline will start working. But in the EU capitals they gave in to persistent pressure from the White House. As a result, a bet was made on expensive LNG.”

Liquefied natural gas is exported by the US in quantities nowhere near sufficient for the European market. Antonov made a pointed reference to the US Department of Energy calling it “molecules of freedom” back in 2019.

Nord Stream 2 was a victory for Washington, which “struck a massive blow not so much against Russia, but against European competitiveness,” Antonov said.

Addressing reports that the US and its allies are trying to impose a price cap on Russian oil and gas exports, Antonov predicted that such attempts would backfire, as there would be a realignment of commodity markets “not in favor of Western countries.”

“US attempts to divide the energy markets into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ leads to destabilization, rising fuel prices and inflation,” Antonov said.