Did the United States announce in 2014 its desire to “cut off the Russian gas pipelines”?

To better understand Condoleezza Rice’s words, let’s go back in time a bit. Already in 2009, an energy crisis hit Europe: in early January, Russia (Gazprom in the foreground) stopped gas deliveries through Ukraine. Moscow accused Kyiv of diverting part of the transit gas and the so-called “technical gas”, which is used to pressurize gas pipelines. A first diplomatic crisis concluded with agreements a few weeks later, as well as the return of flows.

In 2014, when Condoleezza Rice was speaking, the crisis in Ukraine again dominated the news. In addition to the issue of the territorial integrity of the country, which was undermined in the Crimea, tensions have arisen again over hydrocarbons. Germany, which is heavily dependent on Moscow, was especially afraid of cutting supplies in response, especially since it had just committed to a gradual abandonment of nuclear power. This context can be seen as an opportunity on the American side, a major producer, along with Canada, of shale gas.

A researcher, reported by Agence France-Presse at the end of April 2014, commented on the American position and considered that Washington was ultimately very cautious regarding sanctions against Russia. “The Americans are imposing too much restraint on themselves because they don’t want the transatlantic alliance to be weakened by the issue of sanctions.”Jörg Forbrig commented. According to this researcher, many European countries that depend on Russia for energy, did not want to put their allies in trouble by exposing them to reprisals that would likely endanger their supplies. A situation that is far from the current crisis, punctuated by Western sanctions against Moscow.

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