Russia threatens to cut off fuel to Europe

Friday, August 29, 2008, 6:54 AM
Russia may cut off oil supplies to Europe (August 29 - MarketWatch)

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Russian oil companies
are reportedly under orders from the Kremlin to prepare for a supply
cut to Germany and Poland through the Druzhba pipeline, the Daily
Telegraph reported Friday citing an anonymous source. The Telegraph
reported that it's believed that executives from oil major Lukoil have
been put on weekend alert.

"They have been told to be ready
to cut off supplies as soon as Monday," an unnamed, high-level business
source told the Telegraph. Any move would be timed to coincide with an
emergency European Union summit in Brussels, where possible sanctions
against Russia are on the agenda, the Telegraph reported. Tensions
between Russia and the West have escalated sharply in recent weeks
following the military conflict between Russia and Georgia that broke
out earlier this month.

In the US, the
most important bit of news is the selection of a VP running mate for
McCain. In Europe, it happens to be that you might freeze solid this
winter. I am simply stunned that this bit of news was relegated to a
news blurb in the US.

The way I see this, there has been a
steady acceleration of the war of words between Russia and the US over
the Georgian conflict. Russia has a very strong case for feeling
aggrieved by US actions in Georgia, and I am certain that most of
Europe would rather not be caught in between. For example, Russia found
US military equipment and claims that US advisors were on the ground
assisting Georgian forces at the onset of the conflict. Further, the US
airlifted 3,000 Georgian troops from Iraq directly to Georgia when the
conflict broke. And so on and so forth.

I don’t claim to have
any better insight to this conflict; only the observation that it has
steadily grown worse diplomatically, and I think this has the chance of
turning into something worse. My suspicions only grow stronger with the
apparent disparity between the US and European reporting of the events.

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