When Guenther Oettinger, the EU Commissioner for Energy, warned last month that Russia might cut natural gas supplies to the continent in retaliation to Western sanctions, he firmly placed energy security to the front of the debate surrounding escalating tensions with Moscow, Russia's PRIME economic news agency cited The Financial Times' Thursday report.
“That (Russia’s President Vladimir) Putin would use false information, lies and weapons was beyond my imagination,” Oettinger was widely reported to have said at a Brussels event. “That is why I am not ruling out worst-case scenarios any more.”
The clash between the West and the Kremlin over the latter’s alleged military action in Ukraine has led to the worst stand-off between both sides since the Cold War, and the threat to energy supplies has accelerated calls for a move away from Russian energy sources.
The EU imports more than half the energy it consumes, and Russia is its biggest supplier of oil, coal and natural gas. In Europe’s capitals there is a palpable sense of deja vu, in view of the 2006 and 2009 stand-offs between Moscow and Kiev that held Europe to ransom.