An increased Russian military presence has cropped up in the region, while China aims to integrate the northern sea route in the Arctic with its “Belt and Road” initiative. The Kremlin is not only remilitarizing the region but also trying to impose its supremacy through a policy of judicial, economic and military fait accompli. These factors reflect Russia’s will to achieve strategic advantage in the region and underpin the country’s confrontational approach of treating the region as an area for military, territorial and economic expansion, as well as an arena for Russia’s ambitions of being a great power.
It was confirmed that the restoration of the nuclear agreement to its original balanced configuration is the only correct way to ensure the rights and interests of all parties involved, stressing the importance of the deal.
Russia is interested in continuing consultations with Israel on security and stability in the Middle East region, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said. The Russian foreign minister stressed that Moscow saw no alternatives to the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He said that they are ready to work in the context of the renewal of work of the Middle East Quartet of international mediators in close cooperation with representatives of the of the Arab League.
Russian government and Gazprom signed an Agreement of Intent of «Development of hydrogen energy & decarbonization of industry and transport on the basis of natural gas». Russia is signalling its interest in joining the global hydrogen race, taking advantage of a favourable geographical position allowing for exports of hydrogen to areas featuring likely centres for its consumption in Europe and in the Asia-Pacific region. Hydrogen is one of the most promising energy sources of the future, and a potential alternative to fossil fuels
The EU and Ukrainian leaders were considering the possibility of establishing the EU military training mission as well as further participation of Ukrainian servicemen in the EU foreign missions. The initiative, which directly contradicts the Minsk agreements, will contribute to Ukraine’s militarization as well as the escalation of the Donbass conflict, Russia warned.
China’s attempts to address its power shortage have received a boost through efforts to increase imports of coal and electricity from Russia. “The shortages in power supplies in China should reinforce the energy alliance between Moscow and Beijing, if only because Russia is the nearest external source of coal, gas and oil for China. As one consequence, Beijing may give the final go-ahead to the Power of Siberia 2 gas pipeline project, which would bring Russian gas from western Siberia into China via Mongolia.”
China and Russia are holding joint naval drills off the Russian Far East in the latest sign of their growing political and military alignment. China has grown increasingly assertive in defending what it considers its vital interests regarding Taiwan, the South China Sea and throughout the Indo-Pacific.
Moscow has categorically stated that it will not accept a US military presence in the Central Asian region, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said. Ryabkov’s remark testifies to extreme wariness in Moscow about the US military or intelligence presence in or around Central Asia where Russia has profound security concerns. Given the United States’ clandestine links with ISIS and its history of using terror groups as geopolitical tools, Russia has to be extra-cautious.
Russia is concerned with the continual brazen interference of the United States and the European Union in the internal affairs of Belarus, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said. After the presidential elections in Belarus in August 2020, a number of European countries and the US did not recognize the election results and deemed that the actions of Belarusian law enforcement against protesters were excessive. Against this background, the West has repeatedly imposed sanctions and other restrictions aimed at Belarus.
Far from weaponizing energy to let Europe freeze out of supposed geopolitical spite, Russia has used its energy exports during this time of crisis as a tool for repairing bilateral relations and improving how its partners’ publics perceive of it.
The US-propagated false information warfare narrative that Russia allegedly weaponizes its energy exports to Europe was put to rest after the Eurasian Great Power promised to ride to its neighbors’ rescue to help them survive the current energy crisis. In fact, despite previously fearmongering about the Nord Stream II pipeline that was ultimately completed, the US itself was importing more oil from Russia than ever before to the point that Bloomberg (which cannot credibly be considered a Russian-friendly outlet, let alone one that spews so-called “pro-Russian propaganda”) was forced to report in August that “Russia Captures No. 2 Rank Among Foreign Oil Suppliers to US”. This surprising fact is confirmed by the US Energy Information Administration’s own statistics from their official website.
Outgoing German Chancellor Merkel, who’s regarded as the most powerful and influential force in the EU, said that Russia is fulfilling all of its contracts and isn’t to blame for the bloc’s energy crisis. Russian President Putin earlier attributed the spike in energy costs to an hysteria and mess on the market caused by inaccurate speculations and the mismanagement of many countries’ de-carbonization transitions. He also said that the European Commission made a mistake switching from long-term gas contracts to spot trading. The Russian leader then reaffirmed that Gazprom never refused to increase gas supplies when requests where in place and instructed his Energy Minister to ensure that transit through Ukraine is maintained. All of these developments prove that Russia is the EU’s most reliable energy partner.
The recently completed Nord Stream II gas pipeline and the earlier completed Turkish Stream one will greatly contribute to the bloc’s energy security, especially in terms of helping it survive the ongoing crisis. The US’ opposition to both projects was self-serving and intended to pressure its partners into relying on its much costlier and comparatively less reliable LNG exports. The whole world now sees that it would have been counterproductive had the EU fully complied with America like its patron wanted. Thankfully there still remain some US allies which retain a semblance of strategic sovereignty and understood the wisdom in expanding energy ties with Russia despite American pressure to curtail them.
This all proves several important points. First, it’s the US that’s an unreliable partner for Europe in all respects, not Russia. The Eurasian Great Power is rushing to its neighbors’ rescue, but this wouldn’t have been possible had its partners fully complied with the US’ pressure to curtail and ultimately cut off energy ties with Moscow. Therein lies the second point, namely that the US was the one that sought to weaponize energy exports on politically Russophobic pretexts in order to make the EU dependent on its costlier and less reliable LNG exports. The third point is that the US employed false information warfare narratives in pursuit of that failed end, which should further reduce its credibility in the eyes of the European public in hindsight.
Going forward, this same European public should hopefully come to realize that the politically Russophobic beliefs that some of them regrettably espouse were the result of the US’ information warfare campaign against them. Far from weaponizing energy to let Europe freeze out of supposed geopolitical spite, Russia has used its energy exports during this time of crisis as a tool for repairing bilateral relations and improving how its partners’ publics perceive of it. The American and Russian approaches to so-called “energy diplomacy” therefore couldn’t be more different since the former regards these means as a weapon towards the end of dominating its “partners” while the latter sees it as an opportunity to improve relations, perceptions, and standards of living.