E.R. Campbell said:This is a classic example of Russian thuggishness.
Russia has a dispute with Ukraine over some gas that might (let’s say, for the sake of agreement, was) stolen. So does Russia deal with Ukraine? No; it tries to bully the EU, its customers, into forcing Ukraine to do whatever Russia wants. But, in fact, what Russia wants is for Ukraine to ‘come to heel’ and be a good little satellite again.
Russia is blackening its reputations for fair dealing, such as it ever was, by acting in an arbitrary and capricious manner – like a schoolyard bully, like the old USSR.
First, I think this labelling tactics is quite russophobic.
In business there is no thugs.
There are suppliers, customers, contracts and courts.
The contracts are not fair. It is life. There are risks.
The contracts have force majeure clauses and other clauses that European customers are well aware of.
If you do not want cheap gas or you are not able to bear the risk, you just go to buy elsewhere.
Feel bullied? Wanna go to court? Just file the case.
How many "bullied" customers have filed cases? No one AFAIK. So, let's stop this whining of "bad Russians".
Russia foresaw the actual transit problems and had notified the customers well in advance.
So, Germany, France and many others countries prudently filled up their reserves.
That why they are not crying now in line as some other irresponsible "risk-takers".
Second, let's not compare the conflict with the famous US-Canada case on lumber wood.
I did not hear that US stole wood from Canada.
Ukraine steals gas regularly in impressive quantities. The only way to stop it is to suspend shipping until putting international observers in there.
Otherwise ... have you ever tried to force a thief to pay for stolen and already eaten food? Good luck!
Third, if Europe wants reliable heating with cheap gas, it should quit its double-face game and at least (at least!) express some clear verbal support to Russian efforts to prevent Ukraine from messing with THEIR transported gas. As of today, the undecided Europe is still trying to marry a guy who is stealing change from Europeans' pockets.
Ukraine is clearly going to bankruptcy, and it desperately needs gas for its own heating.
So I do not hope their actions will be very honest and adequate in the near future, unless there are coordinated pressing efforts from both sides.