Baku-APA. The U.S. hopes, by including energy in a trade agreement, to reduce European dependence on Russian gas just as relations between Russia and the West are more fraught than since the days of the Cold War, APA reports quoting Anadolu Agency.
The U.S. does not want to leave the EU out in the cold when it might face an energy crisis as tensions with Russia rise over Ukraine. Russia stands accused of arming separatists and sending its own soldiers across Ukraine’s eastern border, to the consternation of EU officials.
The possibility exists that Russia might use energy as a tool to pressure Europe to back off — as it has used energy before, against Ukraine.
In a 2009 pricing dispute, the Russian natural gas company Gazprom cut off gas to Ukraine. Soon all Russian gas flows through Ukraine were halted for two weeks, completely cutting off supplies to Southeastern Europe and partially cutting off flows to other European countries.
According to Eurostat, the EU’s statistics agency, Russia is the EU’s main supplier of natural gas.
“There are many geopolitical reasons for the U.S. to help wean Europe off its addiction to Russian oil and gas,” said Garrett Workman, an expert at the Washington-based Atlantic Council think tank. “Energy will undoubtedly be included in the negotiations.”