European Energy Crisis Worsens As Russia Shuts Off Nord Stream Pipeline

Europe’s energy crisis has become much more concerning as Russia’s state-owned natural gas exporter Gazprom announced Friday that the Nord Stream 1 pipeline is going to be completely out of service indefinitely.

The pipeline that provides much of the natural gas used by Germany and many other European nations has been idle for three day for what Gazprom described as routine maintenance. The line was supposed to have re-opened on Saturday, but that is now on hold.

Russia claims that it discovered some leaks in the system during the scheduled shutdown. Many global observers doubt those claims, especially as the G7 nations announced an agreement earlier on Friday to place a global price cap on Russian oil to put more teeth into Western sanctions imposed due to the war in Ukraine.

The European Union and the U.K. have moved in lockstep with the U.S. in imposing harsh economic sanctions against Russia since its ground invasion of neighboring Ukraine began in February.

In addition to the sanctions, the West has been sending billions of dollars in military and financial aid to the Ukrainian government since the Russian invasion began.

It was reported this week that Joe Biden wants to send another $13.7 billion in aid to Ukraine immediately, as the last massive round of aid sent there is reportedly running out. Biden’s emergency funding request is part of $47.1 billion in new federal spending Biden is proposing to fight monkeypox and continue COVID-19 relief spending.

While the Biden administration continues to urge Europe to support the defense of Ukraine, many observe how unprepared Germany and other countries there appear to have been for the interruption of energy supplies from Russia as a result.

When President Donald Trump warned Germany during a speech at the U.N. in 2018 that it would “become totally dependent on Russian energy if it does not immediately change course,” the German delegation mockingly smirked.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has used his nation’s energy exports for geopolitical leverage throughout his long tenure. The Nord Stream 1 and unopened Nord Stream 2 pipelines were both developed to allow Russia to bypass Ukraine in order to supply gas directly to Germany under the Baltic Sea.

Europe has already been facing an energy crisis because of diminished natural gas supplies flowing through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. Electricity costs have been skyrocketing across the continent and in the U.K. for several weeks, and many Europeans have been searching for firewood as an alternative heat source when winter comes.