Ukraine preparing for a "winter war" with Moscow


Source : 112 Ukraine

Some EU members, in particular Poland, come to the rescue, which becomes another reason for attempts to change the government in Warsaw
19:25, 5 November 2021

gas pipeline
Open source

We in the EU can complain about the rising prices of gas and electricity, grumble about Russian intrigues, but what should countries that are not members of the European Union and NATO, but face the hostile attitude of Russia, do? Ukraine is preparing for a "winter war" with Moscow, Moldova had to introduce a state of emergency. These states depend on the transit or supply of raw materials from Gazprom. The situation shows us one thing: Europe cannot (does not want?) to help them. Some EU members, in particular Poland, come to the rescue, which becomes another reason for attempts to change the government in Warsaw, and, as a result, to subordinate our country to the energy plans of Moscow and Berlin.

Poland is hindering a couple of big players as it stands in the way of creating a Russian-German gas condominium in Eastern and Central Europe. We have already seen a similar design before, during the reboot period. Then Russia and Germany, with the consent of the American administration, divided their influence in the region. Usually, it looked like the Germans retained the dominant position politically (the Tusk government in Poland or Borisov in Bulgaria), and the Russians were guaranteed economic, primarily energy, privileges.

This system was destroyed by the revolution that broke out in Ukraine against the vassal of Moscow Yanukovych. The annexation of Crimea and the war in Donbas forced Obama to choose a tougher course towards Russia, and Germany to withdraw from the informal agreement on the division of influence in Intermarium. Once the "invaders" had a falling out, there was a chance for political changes, including ours. Since 2015, the United Right has been in power in Poland - a much more anti-Russian and pro-American, and much more skeptical of Germany, power than its predecessor, the Civic Platform (PO), which has been called the "Prussian Party."

Related: Gazprom increases gas supplies to Bulgaria at reduced prices

Rapid economic development, the success of the model of social policy chosen by the Polish ruling camp, protection of sovereignty from the arbitrariness of European bodies and Germany behind them, which is hostile to Law and Justice (PiS), Poland's role in strengthening the North Atlantic Alliance and its eastern flank is nevertheless, the main reasons for the furious attacks on Warsaw are not yet the main ones. It seems that it spoils the blood of Berlin and Moscow primarily with its independent energy policy, which, importantly, has an impact on the entire Intermarium region and, in fact, the entire EU.

It all started shortly after Law and Justice came to power with decisive steps aimed at getting rid of gas supplies from Russia. This was undertaken primarily by Piotr Naimski and, to varying degrees, the people associated with him, whom he trusted. Negotiations began immediately with American companies on long-term contracts for the supply of LNG and work to increase the capacity of the Lech Kaczyński gas terminal in Swinoujscie. Poland also returned to the concept of building a gas pipeline connecting it with fields in the Norwegian Sea (a project that appeared under the government of the Solidarity Electoral Action and was buried by the Union of Democratic Left Forces). In June 2017, the first tanker with American gas arrived in Swinoujscie. The construction of the Baltic Pipe gas pipeline was launched, and the Polish Oil and Gas Concern (PGNiG) began buying new shares in fields in the Norwegian Sea. And, most importantly from the point of view of the enemies of Polish diversification, Poland informed Gazprom about its reluctance to renew the Yamal Treaty, which will expire at the end of 2022. Added to this was the victory of PGNiG in a dispute with the Russian concern in the Stockholm Arbitration, which meant a serious replenishment of the Polish company's cash desk.

Related: Gas to be measured not in cubic meters, but in kilowatts: How it to affect utility payments in Ukraine?

At the same time, Poland fought hard (for a long time in cooperation with the Trump administration) against the Nord Stream 2 project. The Washington - Warsaw - Kyiv trio was opposed by the Berlin - Moscow duet. The completion of the investment was delayed by more than a year, but after a new owner appeared in the White House, it became clear that sooner or later the gas pipeline would start working. However, what has been achieved has seriously hampered the functioning of the tacit alliance between Russia and Germany, which sought to create a German-Russian gas condominium in Eastern, Central, and Southern Europe.

In a nutshell, the talk was about Germany becoming a huge gas hub for this part of the continent, and raw materials, of course, coming from Russia via Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2. The Russians could abandon the previous export routes that led through Ukraine, as well as Belarus and Poland (the Yamal-Europe gas pipeline), and thus no longer depend on transit states (and not bear the corresponding costs). Raw materials would go in a roundabout way in the north through the Baltic Sea, and in the south through the Balkans ("TurkStream"). As a result, gas to Central Europe, although it would come from the west, would remain Russian. In short, the plan was to "encircle and cut off the enemy."

Warsaw's activity in the gas sector seriously hindered him. The point is not only that we are gaining independence from Russia and Germany thanks to the Baltic Pipe and the expansion of the gas terminal's capacities. Even worse (although the loss of the Polish market is also a defeat) from their point of view looks the prospect that Poland will begin to provide assistance to the countries of the region. It is she who can become a hub that will compete with Germany while using non-Russian sources of supplies.

Related: Gazprom begins supplying gas to Moldova under new contract

The recently opened gas pipeline connecting Poland and Lithuania means access to the north, to the Baltic markets, and it also connects two countries with LNG terminals (Swinoujscie and Klaipeda). There was also a trilateral agreement between the United States, Poland, and Ukraine, which means the connection of the Polish and Ukrainian markets. Gas cooperation with Kyiv made it possible to provide assistance to Moldova. It was from the Polish side through Ukraine that this country for the first time in history received a gas that was not of Russian origin, and it was the agreement of the Polish oil and gas concern with Chisinau that forced the Russian side to make concessions in the gas war. When it became clear that there was an opportunity to diversify gas supplies to Moldova, Gazprom softened its position. The price he set, however, is higher than last year, but lower than the one that the Russians tried to impose in October or September.

What conclusions follow from this? The best method to neutralize Russian gas intrigues is to give different countries the opportunity to choose the direction of import of "blue fuel." Since this works in the case of non-EU states, it will all the more work in the European market. It is this goal that has been subordinated to the Polish gas diversification policy for several years, and this is one of the reasons why the Polish leadership is being violently attacked.

Grzegorz Kuczyński

Read the original text on Tygodnik Solidarność

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