Ukraine President Reports Gas Blackmail From Russia

( On Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Moscow of “gas blackmail” for reducing the output of natural gas to Europe.

Russian gas giant Gazprom said on Monday that it would be reducing daily output to the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany by 50 percent. The announcement sent natural gas prices rising to their highest level since March and five times what they were a year ago.

Zelensky said Gazprom’s actions were being done deliberately to make it harder for Europeans to prepare for winter.

Calling it “an overt gas war,” Zelensky accused Russia of waging war against Europe with no care for how Europeans will suffer as a result. He said reducing natural gas, along with blocking ports to restrict grain imports are “just different forms of terror.”

Zelensky has a reason to be concerned. If Western Europe is economically crippled by a lack of energy, its robust support for Ukraine might waver. And Ukraine cannot win this fight without a steady stream of support from the West.

On Wednesday, Gazprom decreased natural gas output to just 33 million cubic meters a day, or only 20 percent of its capacity.

And because Western Europe ignored former President Trump’s warnings and decouple itself from dependence on Russian energy, a reduction this significant will severely impact Europe heading into the winter months when demand for natural gas increases.

The Associated Press reported on Tuesday that the European Union energy ministers approved draft legislation that would decrease natural gas consumption voluntarily between August and March by 15 percent.

But if this voluntary measure fails to yield sufficient savings in energy, mandatory actions would be triggered.

After the West imposed economic sanctions on Russia following its February 24 invasion of Ukraine, twelve EU nations have faced either halts to or reductions in their gas imports from Russia.

Before the invasion, Russia supplied about 40 percent of Western Europe’s natural gas. Since then, that has dropped to 15 percent, sending prices skyrocketing and straining industries.

The disruptions in Russian output into the European Union have already sent inflation in Europe to record levels and have left the region on the brink of recession.