EU-Russia energy relations after Navalny’s death


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Energy has been the sector most severely affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as all of the European consumers can attest. In the last two years, EU countries managed to diversify their energy supplies in a way they never expected before and found new (and old) partners around the globe to substitute the share of Russian oil and gas that European leaders decided not to import anymore. Moscow showed itself as an untrustworthy supplier, other than a potential threat to the security of the Eastern European nations. For all these reasons, the death of Alexei Navalny appears as a new issue that can only worsen the relationship between the European Union as a whole and Russia. The death of the leader of the Russian political opposition comes at a time when Moscow and the EU should theoretically discuss the potential extension of an agreement over the transport of Russian gas to Europe via Ukraine.

The current contract will expire at the end of the year, but according to the EU Commission, the countries served by this gas transit route, such as Austria, Italy, and Slovakia, can find alternative supply sources for their economies. This is an important statement by Brussels that underlines how the EU successfully managed to reduce its import of gas per year from Russia. Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Europe received almost 155 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas per year from Moscow, while this data is now close to just around 12 bcm of gas per year. Also, Ukraine stated that it will refuse to enter into any talks with Russia over the extension of the current agreement, and the Kremlin assured that Moscow will find alternative routes to export its natural gas should the Ukraine transit deal not be extended. In conclusion, the death of Alexei Navalny sparked profound anger among Western countries and their leaders, but it will hardly impact energy relations with Russia, which are set to be close to zero in the coming years.

Written by: Francesco Marino

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