Bisbee wrote: Thu Sep 29, 2022 3:57 pm
It is a mistake to view this act (and future Russian activities) as rational or measured by any cost/benefit ratio. Putin has not shown much restraint nor sanity in this war of aggression. He has gone all in on a losing hand.
It is not beyond him to order the pipeline destroyed as simple retaliation against the EU (punching low at their Energy security where it hurts). He is losing both the war and public support in Russia since the unpopular draft. Rats are bailing the sinking ship (or being pushed down stairs). There is real danger that Putin will be willing to take the world down with him if he feels on the verge of losing power. This kind of action is historically the start of world wars. But nothing has been the same since the advent of ICBM’s.
That's my take on it too Bisbee. There is no solid proof right now that it's Russia or another state actor or a terrorist group, but Russian ships both civilian and navy have had access and opportunity. Yes, Putin's invasion of Ukraine wasn't rational and those paying the price are Russian citizens and now more young men are being drafted as fodder for his needless war. Nations play games just like politicians play games, just because they can.
This Carnegie Endowment article gives more perspective.
All summer, Europe had been bracing itself for an announcement in the ongoing energy crisis that finally came on September 2. Russia’s Gazprom stated that it had identified a defect in the last working turbine of the Nord Stream gas pipeline that carries Russian gas under the Baltic Sea to Germany. According to the company, the defect is impossible to repair due to Western sanctions, even though the government of Canada, where the maintenance is done, has specifically excluded the turbines from sanctions. That means that no more Russian gas will be delivered to Europe through Nord Stream for now, and the economic consequences for both Russia and Europe will be severe. The compressor turbines are complex mechanisms, and an accident causing an explosion and fire could be very serious, so regular servicing is of course essential. But Gazprom’s recent concerns over the turbines’ functioning are so numerous and poorly grounded that no one really doubts that the technical problems are just another excuse for Moscow to ramp up the pressure on Europe amid the two sides’ confrontation over the war in Ukraine.
Russia has been reducing gas supplies to Europe all summer, and the complete shutdown of Nord Stream is hardly unexpected. If anything, it had effectively been factored into global gas prices even before it happened. Russian officials and Gazprom representatives continue to insist that Germany could easily solve the problem by simply agreeing to certify the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and accept deliveries via it. That pipeline has stood idle since its completion in September last year: it was put under Western sanctions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine before it was ever granted certification to start transporting gas. The Russian side had poured so much money into the pipeline’s construction in 2014–2021 that it has acquired a symbolic importance, but it would be a Pyrrhic victory now to force the Europeans to agree to its launch at long last. Germany could still revoke the certification for Nord Stream 2 at any moment, and would not even have to justify itself.
Besides, gas is Russia’s most powerful and effective means of applying pressure on Europe. It’s hard to imagine that Russia would play its strongest card in the current standoff with Europe merely to score an ephemeral point by launching Nord Stream 2. In any case, even if the pipeline were to be launched, it’s likely that in a few months, new reasons would emerge on the Russian side for limiting gas supplies to Europe: the government might just ban them outright. Russia will try to keep sending at least a certain amount of gas through one of its southern transport routes, however—either via Ukraine or the TurkStream pipeline—to supply its European allies in Serbia and Hungary.
It’s not just a difficult winter that lies ahead for Europe, but at least two or three difficult years. No major alternative gas sources are likely to appear on the global market before 2025, when several LNG plants are due to be completed in the United States. Any new projects in other countries will take even longer to come online. In the meantime, Europe will have to both invest more in energy-saving technology and alternative energy sources, and enter into contracts for gas deliveries from other countries on relatively unfavorable terms: both in terms of high prices, and also in terms of obligations to commit to long-term contracts.
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan