Millennium Post

Putin diverts controversial gas pipeline to Turkey

Putin diverts controversial gas pipeline to Turkey
It was a rare diplomatic defeat for Putin, who said Russia would redirect the pipeline to Turkey. He painted the failure to build the pipeline as a loss for Europe and blamed Brussels for its intransigence.

The decision also seemed to be a rare victory for the EU and the Obama administration, which have appeared largely impotent this year as Putin annexed Crimea and stirred rebellion in eastern Ukraine.

Russia had long presented the $22 billion South Stream project as a sound business move. But Washington and Brussels had dismissed it as a thinly veiled attempt by the Kremlin to cement its position as the dominant supplier in Europe while sidestepping Ukraine, where price disputes with Moscow twice interrupted supplies in recent years.

The conflict in Ukraine increased pressure from Europe against the pipeline, and construction was halted by Bulgaria i. As diplomatic and economic pressures increased, Putin personally decided to cancel the project, Russia’s energy minister, Alexander Novak, said.

If there was one winner it was Turkey, which, along with China and other energy-hungry developing nations, has been exploiting the East-West rift to gain long-term energy supplies at bargain prices.

Putin noted that on Monday during a news conference with Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, saying Turkey would receive a discount on gas and an additional three billion cubic meters of gas annually. Putin said the line to Turkey could eventually be connected to a wellhead in Greece, if that could be economically justified by market conditions in Europe.

The Ukraine conflict and the bitter relations between Kiev and Moscow that have resulted have cast a shadow over the entire European energy field. Most Russian gas to Europe is still transported through Ukraine, giving Kiev its only source of political leverage against its powerful neighbor. As  Ukraine crisis deepened, developing into a Cold War-like standoff, the Western powers became determined to resist Putin’s aggressive policies at every turn.


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