Russia keeps blackmailing the west with the threat of cutting of gas supplies. However, the European Union (EU) is ready to respond to Moscow’s threats, says Olena Pavlenko, President of the Dixie Group.

In her article for the European Pravda, she notes that between April and June, the Kremlin systematically “played the gas delivery card” while also halting supplies to Bulgaria, Poland and Finland, along with several European companies.

Until recently, Russia also terminated supplies via the Nord Stream 1, citing the pipeline’s need for renovation as the reason. According to Pavlenko, Russia believed that as a result of its whimsical behavior, receiving nations would submit to its demands, including the demand for payment in rubles issued in spring 2022.

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But they did not.

In March, the European Commission (EC) unveiled a plan aimed at reducing the import of Russian gas, with the EU simultaneously ramping up deliveries of liquified gas from the U.S.

Pavlenko adds that Russia’s Nord Stream 1 maneuver, which initially scared countries that are heavily dependent on Russian gas, including Germany, did not have the desired effect.

Instead, and to overcome the problem, the EU immediately introduced additional plans aimed at reducing gas consumption and economizing.

One such plan offers the ability for member states to voluntarily (for the time being) reduce their consumption by 15 percent starting August 2022 until March 31, 2023 – a move that should allow the EU to avoid critical supply scenarios in the winter.

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Should supply issues still exist, the EC may receive additional tools provided by the Treaty on European Union’s Article 122 to demand that member states reduce their gas consumption. The fact that the EC announced this plan on June 20, says Pavlenko, indicates that the Commission is ready for such a scenario.

She adds that it seems like the EU has cooled down Russia’s desire to start a full-fledged gas war, with Moscow renewing the supplies via the Nord Stream 1 the next day, albeit with reduced volumes.

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However, this does not mean that the hostility is over.

Although the EU managed to win the latest battle, Russia may still terminate supplies again in the coming months, Pavlnko concludes. This is especially likely since Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has already announced that because the Nord Stream 1’s renovation is supposedly “poor”, that Moscow may be forced to render it defunct, while also demanding the launch of Nord Stream 2.

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