Another twist in the Gazprom saga

The leader of Russia and the CEO of its national gas company attend a new pipeline opening ceremony
Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin have sought to defend Russia’s position as dominant gas supplier to Western Europe (source: dpa)
  • Washington’s decision to target Russian gas highlights a deep ambivalence in Europe’s Russia policy
  • The American sanctions against Gazprom may deepen rifts within the EU and between the U.S. and key EU states
  • The EU took several measures to ensure energy security, but the Kremlin’s “energy weapon” has not been completely dulled

The decision by the United States Congress to impose tougher sanctions on Russia is yet another twist in the long-running saga of the Russian gas giant Gazprom. The move is a real escalation, as the new round of sanctions may target Western companies involved in the Russian gas business.

Although previous rounds of sanctions have targeted Russian oil, the European Union has essentially exempted the Russian gas sector. Sanctioning Russian gas flows to Europe would have dealt a massive blow to Gazprom, but it would have also hit some EU members hard. Now that the Americans have parted from that practice, the Europeans are not pleased. The continent’s energy supply, according to some critics of the decision, is a matter for Europe to decide, not the U.S.

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