Given this history, Russia’s fear of NATO luring Ukraine into its sphere and crawling straight to the Russian border is far from absurd. No wonder Putin demanded that the United States and NATO withdraw all weapons from Ukraine, that a guarantee be issued that Ukraine will not join the alliance, and that all old weapons Soviet nuclear weapons on Ukrainian territory are secured. Any Russian leader, left, right or centre, would ask the same.
On this side of the Atlantic, President Joe Biden has been talking for months about “defending Ukrainian democracy” and peaceful intentions, while deploying increasing numbers of missiles and more US troops. near the Russian border, not only in Ukraine, but also in Poland. , the Czech Republic and other countries. Fully aware of Russia’s security concerns, Biden and NATO pushed the envelope anyway, acting as intentional provocateurs. A peacemaker that the US president is not.
Though too few paid attention, Biden also drew the curtain on the American economic interests pushing for a Russian-Ukrainian war — those profiting here at home from the fighting in Eastern Europe. There are of course the usual suspects, the missile manufacturers and the aircraft manufacturers, but the other big winners in this war are the big oil and gas companies.
On several occasions throughout the current crisis, Biden has threatened Germany and Russia’s Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline and pushed Berlin to crush the project. Not all pipeline talks came out of nowhere.
Companies like Chevron, ExxonMobil and Shell, and the hundreds of drilling and shipping contractors that work with them, want to massively increase exports to gas-starved Europe, but Russia and its state-owned Gazprom are opposite. business. Currently, Russian natural gas accounts for more than 30% of all EU imports. Germany and France, major European powers, get 40% of their gas from Russia, while other countries, such as the Czech Republic and Romania, use only Russian gas.
To dislodge competition and take market share, Western multinationals must slow down the flow of gas from the East. Completed late last year and due to become operational in 2022, Nord Stream 2 would permanently cap sales in the United States, which arrive via expensive shipping terminals.
The Ukrainian government, which benefits from transit fees for existing onshore pipelines, lobbied Washington all last summer to impose sanctions on Nord Stream 2 and the German and Russian companies behind it. With Putin’s invasion, Ukrainian leaders and Western gas companies got what they were asking for. Nord Stream 2 is postponed, indefinitely; Germany revived plans for more terminals to ship US gas; and world energy prices soared as a result of the war.