Ukraine cuts off gas supplies

Ukraine yesterday closed an important hub for gas supplies to the West due to its loss of control over the Luhansk region, cutting the amount of gas that reaches Europe via Ukraine by about a third. This makes the earlier debates about reducing dependence on Russian energy and the energy transition all the more urgent, commentators observe.

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Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

Propaganda boon for Putin

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung finds the move by the Ukrainian government problematic:

“It risks damaging the economies of its most important European allies, even if supplies in Germany and elsewhere are apparently not at risk for the time being. The EU became a victim of Ukrainian-Russian gas wars years ago. This also undermined the West's trust in Ukraine at the time (one consequence was the construction of Nord Stream 2), which should not be forgotten in Kiev. The fact that Russia can now once again claim to be complying with its contracts is a propaganda boon for Putin.”

Novi list (HR) /

The worst is yet to come

The consequences for energy supplies will only be visible in the long term, Novi list observes:

“The news that the Ukrainian government has closed one of the two pipelines through which Russian gas comes to Europe shows that the energy war between the EU and Russia - which invaded Ukraine - is taking on ever greater proportions. Clearly we are facing an uncertain autumn and winter, even higher prices for products and services, and the threat of economic ruin. ... Europe's biggest energy crisis to date has not yet shown its true face. The problems with inflation that are hitting us right now are only the beginning.”

Polityka (PL) /

Energy transformation more urgent than ever

The war also provides an opportunity to accelerate the reform of the energy infrastructure, Polityka points out:

“Europe has received the clear signal that dependence on fossil fuels is dangerous not only for the climate, but also for strategic security. It is not enough simply to switch suppliers, because importing such an important resource as energy sources will always carry a strategic risk. The only definitive solution is energy self-sufficiency, and that can be achieved by using emission-free technologies.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

Shorter showers won't cut it

If it wants to break free from energy dependence on Russia the West must reduce its consumption, De Volkskrant insists:

“Yes, we may be able to produce our electricity with sun and wind, but sustainable transformation of the rest of the world's (increasing) demand for energy is impossible. We will simply have to consume less. Russia's war in Ukraine has provided the first urgent impetus. ... The only structural solution is to cut down. The Dutch government has already called on consumers to heat less and take shorter showers. But a broader strategy to reduce consumption in industry and transport (finally taxing kerosene-based jet fuel?) is still lacking, although it is urgently needed. Now and for the future.”

Deutsche Welle (BG) /

A chance to loosen the Kremlin's grip

Thanks to gas deliveries from alternative sources such as Azerbaijan, former Eastern bloc country Bulgaria is also reducing its political dependence on Moscow, Deutsche Welle's Bulgarian service comments:

“Crises also create opportunities. And that's what's happening now. The Ukraine war is giving Bulgaria the crucial opportunity for a genuine diversification of its energy supplies, rather than the approach [ex-prime minister Boris Borisov] envisaged using Russian gas and American compressors. Like the Socialists, President Rumen Radev has indirectly spoken out in favour of further deliveries from Russia. ... But although Russia's influence still extends to Bulgaria via political networks, the situation is now different when it comes to the gas infrastructure - because the Kremlin cannot block it (any more).”