Tuesday, January 13, 2009

European Gas Crisis - Russia vs. Ukraine

[Src: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7826142.stm]

A quick commentary on the news of Russia's gas to Europe being blocked (reportedly) by Ukraine... I'm sure you're asking yourself what this could possibly have to do with security, and the answer is simple - geo-politics.

There was a movie a long while back (1997) called "The Saint" with Val Kilmer, who's premise was that in an attempt to de-stabilize the government in Russia a military head (general, I believe) was holding heating fuel under the Kremlin... this story in the BBC press started to have an eerie ring to it. The politics of Europe are fragile right now, and it's even worse the further east you go in towards Russia, such that a crisis of epic proportions like this could destabilize political situations... maybe that's what Russia's banking on?

Maybe I've watched too many James Bond marathons but this Russia vs. Ukraine grudge-match over heating gas is starting to stink of something much deeper and scarier. The Russians know full well that over 80% of Europe's gas for heat in a deep winter like this comes from Russian sources, and they're obviously using this to their political ends... at least for now it's a fight with Ukraine over debt and supplies but this brings a slightly different issue to focus.

If you look carefully at the map every single major gas pipeline from Russian Gazprom is running straight through the Ukraine. Who thought this was a good idea? I'm sure there are geographic and other reasons for this, but in the broader scheme of things isn't diversification (such as running a few of these lines through Poland, maybe?) a better thing than having 14+ countries in a deep-freeze heating crisis?

I'm on the lookout for political and possibly European security-related fallout from this... keep your eyes on the news, this one could get heated (no pun intended).Link

1 comment:

Alex said...

A new price on Russian gas for Ukraine is about $230 for thousand cubic meters. Nobody will say more precisely today. A word «about» is a new know-how of the Ukrainian government, that hides the unwillingness of Julia Volodimirivna to acknowledge that she handed us to Russia.

During the first four months we will pay $360 for gas. And that is exactly twice as high, than paid until now. And Timoshenko’s «about» means a kind of an average annual price. Such a convinient gap : nobody knows its size, so no one will notice, someone will grab a piece of pie from there.