Putin Is ‘Using Energy as a Weapon,’ Von der Leyen Says

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Putin is 'using energy as a weapon,' von der leyen says

Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “Putin Is ‘Using Energy as a Weapon,’ Von der Leyen Says” – below is their description.

The European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday laid out the EU’s winter energy plan, as the war in Ukraine puts energy supplies across the continent in jeopardy.

Von der Leyen said the war had entered a “new phase”, and said the EU would support Ukraine for “as long as it takes”.

Speaking at the European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg, von der Leyen accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of “treating hundreds of thousands of young Russians as cannon fodder” following recent troop mobilisations, and criticised recent movements by Putin to annex four regions in Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed laws absorbing four Ukrainian regions into Russia, a move that finalizes the annexation carried out in defiance of international law.

Earlier this week, both houses of the Russian parliament ratified treaties making the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions part of Russia. The formalities followed Kremlin-orchestrated “referendums” in the four regions that Ukraine and the West have rejected as a sham.

Von der Leyen also accused Putin of “using energy as a weapon”, explaining that the war in Ukraine had caused EU member states “economic and social hardship”.

“It places a heavy burden on our citizens and on the economy. In our single market, we see in particular the rising energy prices and gas and electricity prices that are leading to reduced purchasing power,” she said.

In response she set out an energy plan for “resilience”, including gas storage, reducing reliance on Russian fossil fuels, investing in sustainable energy supplies, and redistributing “windfall profits” from energy companies.

In addition she said EU member states should use “joint procurement” when purchasing gas following the winter to prevent member states “outbidding outbidding each other on the global market and thus raising the prices”.

She also commented on the suspected “sabotage” of the Nord Stream pipeline, after undersea blasts involving several hundred pounds of explosives damaged the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in four locations off southern Sweden and Denmark and led to huge methane leaks in international waters in the Baltic Sea.

She said the damage to the pipline had “shown how vulnerable our energy infrastructure is.”

“For the first time in recent history, it has become a target. Pipelines and underwater cables connect European citizens and companies to the world. They are the lifeline of data and energy. It is in the interest of all Europeans to better protect this critical infrastructure,” she said.

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