U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters on September 30 that the sabotage of Russian Nord Stream gas pipeline was seen in Washington as a “tremendous opportunity” to reduce European energy imports from Russia. This follows years of American calls under multiple administrations to use more costly American LNG over Russian gas to deny Moscow both revenues and a significant strategic asset. European states were “indefinitely deprived” of Russian gas via Nord Stream, Russian energy operator Gazprom confirmed, after Moscow had invested billions in the project which was at the heart of its economic integration with Europe. Secretary Blinken confirmed that the U.S. had now become “the leading supplier of [liquefied natural gas] to Europe,” highlighting that Washington was also working with European leaders to “decrease demand” and “speed up the transition to renewables.” “It’s a tremendous opportunity to once and for all remove the dependence on Russian energy and thus to take away from [Russian President] Vladimir Putin the weaponisation of energy as a means of advancing his imperial designs,” he added.
Nord Stream 2 Pipeline (Reuters)
The culprit behind the attacks on Nord Stream 2 has been widely speculated, with Western sources near unanimously blaming Russia while others have highlighted that the U.S. and possibly Britain or Poland are likely culprits. The attack has denied Russia a key bargaining chip in future negotiations with European powers, while also further increasing energy shortages on the continent. U.S. President Joe Biden’s prior warnings that the U.S. would take measures to stop Russian energy exports to Europe via Nord Stream should Moscow take military action against Ukraine was widely cited by those claiming that Washington was the most likely culprit, with the significant losses faced by both Europe and Russia as a result of the attack being another cited factor. Russian President Vladimir Putin for his part also strongly implied U.S. and British culpability, stating: “It’s obvious to everyone who benefits from it… Those who benefit are the ones who have done it.”