Ukraine at crossroads of a European energy crisis

Ukraine, likely named after the Slavic word for “borderland,” has long been a crossroads for peoples, civilizations, trade – and military invasions. As Russia steps up its threats against the country once again, energy is the latest resource to become weaponized. 

Russia supplies about 40% of the European Union’s natural gas, and while Britain does not buy Russian gas directly, it is connected to the continent and in effect part of the same market. Prices for gas – both in Europe and globally – have soared to record levels since September, which has also pushed up the continent’s electricity prices to all-time highs.

The economic recovery from Covid lockdowns, combined with weather-related and technical interruptions, drove market tightness. Russia has exacerbated the squeeze, reducing gas sales and not refilling underground storage facilities that it owns in Europe. Fresh fighting between Russia and Ukraine would only push prices higher.

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