Monday, March 3, 2008


The hand that controls the valves of the natural gas pipelines that feed Europe is getting itchy. Our Russian friends frame it as a dispute solely between Gazprom and Ukraine, but the message itself couldn't be clearer - those who rely on Russian natural gas will learn to play ball the Russian way. Period. End of story.

Russia Cuts Gas Exports to Ukraine as Debt Talks Fail
By Torrey Clark and Daryna Krasnolutska

March 3 (Bloomberg) -- OAO Gazprom, Russia's state-run natural-gas export monopoly, cut natural-gas shipments to Ukraine after failing to resolve a debt dispute, raising concern European supplies may be disrupted.

Gazprom lowered deliveries to Ukraine by 25 percent at 10 a.m., spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov told reporters today in Moscow. Gazprom will supply European consumers in full, he said.

Russia has portrayed the conflict as a commercial dispute, while Ukraine has accused Moscow of leveraging energy to maintain regional influence.

The standoff echoes Gazprom's cutoff of gas supplies to Ukraine in January 2006, which disrupted exports to the European Union. About a fifth of Europe's gas travels through Ukrainian pipelines from Russia...

I wonder if Russia will eventually demand that all of their Ambassadors to European capitals be referred to by the title "Daddy" in the future?

All except for France - who will just smile and continue to run a highly efficient fleet of nuclear power plants while Germany denuclearizes and the rest of Europe rolls over and sucks up Russia natural gas.

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