I did not either until I read this morning an article about Putin, gas pipelines and the Baltic Sea.
Well, you may have heard that Russia has undertaken a second gas pipeline ( $11 billion) under the Baltic bringing natural gas from Russia to Germany . There is already one and this one will follow a similiar route. Putin is determined to use his natural gas resources to further wedge his country into a connection with Europe . Already the EU depends on Russia for one third of its gas. Of course , Putin wants this to continue if not increase –ten per cent of Russia’s export revenue comes from those gas sales to the EU.
Well, this second Pipeline , Nord Stream 2 , is under construction by Gazprom , Russia’s giant oil and gas firm. due for completeion in 2019. Of course, this a is a lot of pipe and Gazprom and its subcontractors would like somewhere to store this stuff.
Enter ,Karlshamn , Sweden, a port on the Baltic, which already services Russian ships etc. Well, the city of 20,000 has agreed for Gazprom and its contractors to use the port for storage of the pipe. The national Government in Stockholm objects citing security reasons given Russia recent increased military exercises in the Baltic and Sweden ‘s overall objection to Russia’s agressive action like the Crimea capture. Apparently, at this point it is within the jurisdiction of the city to conduct such operations if it so desires. And it has resisted the national government in refusing the pipe storage operation. A Swedish Baltic Island , Gotland, just north of Karlshamn , has refused Russian attempts to store pipe there.
Ironically, Germany supports the pipeline, citing that it is just a commercial venture , notwithstanding that it supports sanctions against Russia for its Crimea adventure. Even further irony is the fact that this new pipeline is being built by Russia to circumvent any problems that would inevitably ensue if they depended on going through Ukraine. Some Eastern European nations are upset ostensibly for security reasons but economically thay could loose from less Russian gas shipments through their country once the second pipeline is built. It is well known that many German business interests have substantial ties in Russia and have lobbied Merkel to be more lenient to Russia/German business relationships.
Lessons to be learned
Russia continues to divide and conquer right in the heart of Europe among countries and with a single country
The EU for all its ‘weeping and gnashing of teeth’ depends on Russia’s natural gas and hence is conflicted big time in setting any valid diplomatic course with the US and others on Russia and its global interests.
Welcome to the real world!