In a surprising turn in the present conflict, it appears Ukraine has shut off a pipeline carrying about one third of the gas flowing into Europe from Russia in an attempt to impose a blockade on a region that is now mostly under the control of Russian military forces.
According to Russia Today:
Ukraine suspended the flow of Russian natural gas to Europe on Wednesday, while blaming Moscow for the disruption. Russian gas had so far been flowing uninterrupted through pipelines across Ukraine despite the military activities.
In a statement late Tuesday, the Ukrainian gas transmission system operator said it had decided to suspend operations at a major transit point, Sokhranovka, because of “interference by the occupying forces.” The station handles up to 32.6 million cubic meters per day, or about a third of the Russian gas that flows via Ukraine to Europe, according to the operator.
Reuters reports a dramatic fall in gas flow as of this morning, May 11:
Russian gas flows to Europe via Ukraine fell by a quarter on Wednesday after Kyiv halted use of a major transit route blaming interference by occupying Russian forces, the first time exports via Ukraine have been disrupted since the invasion.
Ukraine has remained a major transit route for Russian gas to Europe even after Moscow launched what it calls a “special military operation” in the country on Feb. 24.
The transit point Ukraine shut usually handles about 8% of Russian gas flows to Europe, although European states said they were still receiving supplies. The Ukraine corridor mostly sends gas to Austria, Italy, Slovakia and other east European states.
It is unclear at this point how the United States and its NATO vassals are going to respond to this interruption, which likely will cripple economic activity across Europe.
This interruption comes on top of disruptions caused by Russia government demands that all countries imposing sanctions on it must begin paying for its energy products in rubles.