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EU biggest loser in Russia-Ukraine conflict

Source: China Daily | 2022-10-18
EU biggest loser in Russia-Ukraine conflict

People evacuate in Irpin, Ukraine, March 11, 2022. Ukraine established 12 humanitarian corridors in four regions on Friday to allow civilians to leave the conflict-torn areas, the Ukrainian government-run Ukrinform news agency reported, citing Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk. The humanitarian corridors were set up to evacuate people from some cities and towns in eastern Donetsk and Kharkiv, southern Zaporizhzhya and north-central Kiev, Vereshchuk said. [Photo by Diego Herrera/Xinhua]

This is an editorial from China Daily.

The outlook for Europe's largest economy remains bleak due to Germany's energy supply crisis and inflation.

"Overall the prospects for the German market and its industry are very dire," Christian Seyfert, who heads the German Association of Industrial Energy Consumers, told CBS News last month. "That is due to inflation and the skyrocketing gas prices." And that was before the series of explosions that disabled the Nord Stream gas pipelines. The two pipelines that supply Russian gas to Germany were severely damaged last month by four mysterious explosions that are presumed to have been acts of sabotage.

In a bid to do whatever it takes to support its already strained economy, Germany has been reactivating coal plants and considering turning its decommissioned nuclear power plants back on.

Yet it was because Germany needed to fill the energy gap as it wound down its use of coal and nuclear energy that the country ramped up its gas imports from Russia, as former German chancellor Angela Merkel explained on Thursday.

"From the perspective of that time, it was very rational and understandable to obtain pipeline-bound gas from Russia, which was cheaper than LNG from other parts of the world," she said on Thursday, adding that, "Even during the Cold War, Russia was a reliable energy supplier."

In fact, as Merkel's remarks indicate, contrary to claims of Washington, it is not Russia that has weaponized energy. That dubious distinction goes to the United States.

As a member of Ronald Reagan's National Security Council revealed, the US has a track record of attacking the critical energy infrastructure of other countries, including that of Russia. In 1982, a Central Intelligence Agency operation to sabotage Soviet industry triggered a huge explosion in a Siberian gas pipeline that caused "the most monumental non-nuclear explosion and fire ever seen from space".

In fact, it has been suggested that the US' efforts to provoke the Ukraine conflict are a glorified weaponization of energy aimed at enfeebling Russia. With some arguing, it not only has the capability and capacity to commit acts of international sabotage, but also the political will to weaponize energy as a form of economic warfare.

The difficulties that Germany faces are not limited to it alone. The whole of the EU is struggling with the energy crunch, and as collateral damage in the US' energy war. Despite this, the EU countries have been clinging to the US in their hour of need, and the US has obliged by extending a helping hand, although its poorer-quality LNG comes at a dramatically marked up price.

Winter is coming, the days are getting colder. Perhaps as they rue the soaring cost of gas and their faltering economies, the EU countries will reflect on the price they are paying for being the US' stooges.