Russian gas 'could' be used to 'derail European Unity' says expert
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Russia’s brutal war in Ukraine has been ongoing since February and despite an embarrassingly slow start, there are signs Moscow is gradually gaining the upper hand. The European Union has continued to hit the warring country with crippling sanctions in a desperate attempt to destroy Russia’s economy and derail Vladimir Putin’s war efforts. But bombshell new statistics have revealed Russia has continued to earn tens of billions of pounds in revenue from energy exports.
Germany is one of the main buyers for fossil raw materials and since the start of the war alone, has paid €16.72billion (£14.15billion to Russia for gas, oil and coal.
The numbers from the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) show only China (£21.53billion) has spent more money buying commodities from Putin in this period.
Nearly €70billion (£59.3billion) has gone from the EU to Putin, with member states alone paying more than €200million (£168.2million) for energy imports every day.
In an article for German newspaper Bild entitled “Putin is swimming in our money”, Julius Bohm said that since March, EU payments have plunged by around 70 percent as many of the member states are trying to be less dependent on Russia.
But another reason could be that a summer heatwave spreading across large parts of Europe means next to no heating is being used by hundreds of millions of European inhabitants.
Bild has highlighted the huge problem facing German where people are so dependent on Russian energy imports “that the gas storage facilities were emptied last week despite the summer weather”.
This is because annual maintenance on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline from Russia into Europe began on July 10, meaning no gas has been flowing via the pipeline for more than a week.
Julius Bohm warned in his article for Bild: “This shows that even 143 days after the outbreak of the war, Germany is so dependent on Russian gas that other imports cannot even cover demand in midsummer.
However, the fact that the EU has reduced its payments does not mean that the money tap to Russia is threatening to dry up.
“A lot of fresh money continues to flow towards the Kremlin from other regions of the world, which is being used to finance the war in Ukraine.
“In the first 100 days of the war, an average of more than €900million a day went to Russia from all over the world.”
The annual maintenance work on the Nord Stream pipeline is due to be finished this Wednesday.
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But there are surging fears Putin won’t turn the gas tap back and could start a political war with the EU in retaliation for the heavy sanctions Russia has been hit with so far.
The shortage of gas has sent prices spiralling throughout the content and inflation jumping to massive highs, sparking fears the Eurozone economy could soon plunge into a damaging recession.
Thanim Islam, Market Strategist at international business payments specialist Equals Money, told Express.co.uk: “A recession is looking more and more likely with every passing day.
“In fact, according to a recent Bloomberg survey, the chances have increased from 30 percent to 45 percent – and this could go higher still.
“It’s hard to predict exactly when a recession could occur – but there’s a very good chance it will happen before the end of the year.”
The financial expert added: “The prospect of an energy shortage threatens to plunge the eurozone into recession, with rising inflation in the bloc also adding to rising recession concerns.
“The last economic sentiment data from the ZEW survey in Germany suggests confidence is at its lowest since 2011, and recently the German Economy Minister Robert Habeck suggested that the fear of recession is overwhelming.”
Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg.
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