MOSCOW (Realist English). Russia is ready for a tough confrontation in the energy sphere, if necessary, Nikolai Kobrinets, director of the Department of Pan-European Cooperation of the Russian Foreign Ministry, said in an interview with Interfax.
“Russia remains a reliable supplier, a guarantor of world-class energy security. We value this reputation, but we are ready for a tough confrontation in the energy sphere, if necessary. I think the European Union will definitely not benefit from it — we have a greater margin of safety and stronger nerves,” the diplomat stressed.
On March 8, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that she hoped to reduce the EU’s demand for Russian gas by two-thirds by the end of 2022, and make Europe completely independent of energy carriers from Russia much earlier than 2030.
“And, judging by the statements, [this will be done] at any cost. Which, as usual, will have to be paid not by the top of the European bureaucracy, but by ordinary European taxpayers. Serious experts believe that LNG, including American LNG, will not be able to replace Russian [natural] gas in Europe in the coming years. Still, you need to get warm every winter. The costs are increasing for the entire economy,” he added.
Kobrinets noted that the EU plans include development of projects for the production of hydrogen and development of alternative energy sources: “And the weather can be capricious. All this will take time and investments. From a purely economic point of view, the plans are not very rational. There is turbulence, if not panic, in the global energy markets. It is unknown to what level prices will soar. But it is already clear that for [natural] gas, crude oil and electricity, the EU will have to pay three times the price, if not more. The choice is theirs.”
According to the European Commission, Russia accounts for about 45% of the [natural] gas imported by the European Union, 25% of crude oil and 45% of coal.
On March 10, the European Union came to the limit of its capabilities in the campaign of imposing economic sanctions against Russia, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrel said on FranceInfo Radio.