The bloc published its new energy strategy on Tuesday, which details the plan to “reach independence from Russian gas well before the end of the decade” and cut imports by up to two-thirds in 2022. It comes as the EU scrambled to stop Putin’s brutal attack on Ukraine by slapping down crippling sanctions. While Russia’s energy sector forms the backbone of its economy, it is also crucial for keeping the power on in Europe.
As Moscow currently supplies 40 percent of the EU’s gas, there are fears that bloc Russia could hit back at the bloc for its plan to damage its energy sector.
Jess Ralston, from the Energy, Climate and Intelligence Unit, told Express.co.uk: “If we [the West] reduce our demand from them, they [Russia] said that they could retaliate by turning off the gas taps essentially.”
And she warned that this will affect the UK too.
Ms Ralston warned: “Putin turning that supply on and off at a whim really makes us so vulnerable to what is happening over there.
“There could be a knock-on impact, Russia is going to do what it is going to do in retaliation to what we do, but the near-term step that we can take to insulate ourselves from that as much as possible is reducing our demand.”
But Ms Ralston is not the only one who believes that the plan could be dangerous for the EU.
Brandon Wiechert, a geopolitical analyst and author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower, told Express.co.uk: “It is nice to see Europe essentially take one for the team – risking higher energy prices to help to wage economic warfare against the Russians, who are currently violating the territorial sovereignty and integrity of independent Ukraine.
“Sadly, however, I remain convinced that the plan will backfire in Europe’s face – at least in the near term.
“Without enough alternative fuel supplies at the ready to replace the lost Russian supply, the EU plan will backfire in that it will do more harm to Western consumers than it will to Russia.”
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The warning also comes after Russia threatened to “mirror” the West’s threats to cut its oil and gas imports.
Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak warned: “European politicians need to honestly warn their citizens and consumers what to expect.
“If you want to reject energy supplies from Russia, go ahead. We are ready for it. We know where we could redirect the volumes to.”
It also come after Russia’s energy empire took a blow when Germany moved to sanction Putin in a pledge not to certify Nord Stream 2, a planned £8billion pipeline that had not yet come online.
Mr Novak said: “In connection with … the imposition of a ban on Nord Stream 2, we have every right to take a matching decision and impose an embargo on gas pumping through the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline.
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“So far we are not taking such a decision, but European politicians with their statements and accusations against Russia push us towards that.”
Mr Weichert warned that this threat could have devastating consequences.
He told Express.co.uk: “A sizeable portion of Russian fossil fuel is pouring into Germany and Europe by way of Nord Stream 1.
“Russia has considerable leverage over Europe and Germany (the most powerful nation in the EU). Not only can they threaten to cut off Europe from critical energy supplies but they can also leverage Europe; getting Europeans to pay more money for fuel sources while providing less fuel. All of this will create significant drags on Europe’s economy.”
But the EU’s energy strategy has planned for this.
The new plan suggests importing liquified natural gas from other countries instead of relying on Russia’s pipeline gas.
It is also looking at increasing the production of other energy sources like biogas.
Speeding up the roll-out of renewables is like hydrogen to diversify its energy sources as alternatives to Russian gas is also part of the plan.