Europe’s recently difficult relationship with Russia took a turn for the worse at the end of last month. Citing a failure to pay for supplies in roubles, Russian energy giant Gazprom halted all exports of gas to Poland and Bulgaria. That action, which the Financial Times described as part of the Putin administration’s “efforts to weaponise energy supplies over the invasion of Ukraine,” added urgency to Europe’s attempts to sever its dependence on Russian fossil fuels.
The invasion of Ukraine has shocked the world and, with it, energy markets. Commodity prices have increased sharply, sending consumer prices to politically unpalatable levels. The conflict has also increased the debate around energy security, especially in Europe, where action against the Putin administration has been hobbled by the need to carry on importing Russian gas (and to a certain extent oil).