In a move that will have devastating consequences for hundreds of millions of Europeans, Russia has indefinitely ended natural gas exports to Europe via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline.
Nord Stream 1 is the largest source of Russian natural gas exports to Europe, which up to this year amounted to 40 percent of European natural gas imports. Over the past months, Russia has repeatedly cut off supplies via Nord Stream 1 for days in a row.
Prices for natural gas, the leading energy source for home heating, have already risen 10-fold over the past year and surged by more than 33 percent on Monday following the announcement.
European households, facing surging energy and food prices, have been driven to the brink, and small businesses are facing bankruptcy throughout the continent.
This massive social disaster is the consequence of the US-NATO war with Russia, which was instigated by the NATO powers by their efforts to bring Ukraine into the NATO alliance. The war has already led to the deaths of tens of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians, the deaths of tens of thousands of Russian soldiers and the shattering of Ukrainian economic life.
The primary beneficiaries of the conflict have been US and European defense contractors, which are seeing the largest orders in decades, and US energy companies, which have surged energy exports onto the European market at record prices, leading to bumper profits.
Despite the economic disaster looming for Europe, the US and NATO have only escalated their involvement in the war.
The White House called on Congress Monday to appropriate a further $11 billion for the war in Ukraine, adding to the more than $50 billion that has been allocated to date.
It has become undeniable that the White House is removing nearly all remaining restraints on US involvement in the war, which US President Joe Biden warned earlier this year might risk “World War III.”
In an article entitled “Why the US is becoming more brazen with its Ukraine support,”the Hill reports that “the Biden administration is arming Ukraine with weapons that can do serious damage to Russian forces, and, unlike early in the war, U.S. officials don’t appear worried about Moscow’s reaction.”
The article quoted William Taylor, the former US ambassador to Ukraine and a leading figure in the first impeachment of Donald Trump, saying, “Over time, the administration has recognized that they can provide larger, more capable, longer-distance, heavier weapons to the Ukrainians and the Russians have not reacted.”
He continued, “The Russians have kind of bluffed and blustered, but they haven’t been provoked. And there was concern [over this] in the administration early on—there still is to some degree—but the fear of provoking the Russians has gone down.”
If Russia has not been “provoked,” the response of US officials is to escalate their involvement in the war until the necessary outcome is achieved.
The article noted that last month, “defense officials said the United States for the first time would send Ukraine ScanEagle surveillance drones, heavily armored MaxxPro mine-resistant vehicles and TOW guided anti-tank missile systems as well as various new munitions and ammo.”
These are added to the AGM-88 High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missiles, as well as a massive increase in the number of High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) long-range missile systems being sent to the country.
The Hill wrote, “Looking ahead, multiple reports have indicated that the U.S. plans to soon send Excalibur precision-guided artillery munitions—weapons that can travel up to 70 kilometers and would help the Ukrainians target dug-in Russian positions and command posts.”
The article cited an unnamed US official who said, “I think the instincts of the people in the departments and agencies, particularly State and Defense and the intelligence community, I think their instincts are to be more forward leaning and more aggressive. … We have a lot more space on our side, I think, to take actions that will assist Ukraine without being unjustifiably afraid of how Putin is going to respond.”
While Russian officials have repeatedly called for peace negotiations, the United States and its proxy government in Ukraine have refused any negotiations with Russia short of Ukraine’s goal of retaking Crimea. “It’s a question of dialogue with terrorists. We cannot—you cannot discuss anything with terrorists,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told ABC.
The US media, meanwhile, is cheerleading a Ukrainian offensive in southern Ukraine which the White House is using as the pretext to greatly expand US involvement in the war. To date, the US has provided hundreds of drones and aircraft, hundreds of vehicles, tens of thousands of missiles and millions of rounds of ammunition. But as The Hill makes clear, this is just a down payment as the US prepares a “more aggressive” intervention in the war.