Blinken warns Europe against getting bullied by Putin over energy

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, center, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, arrive for a meeting of NATO ambassadors at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys, Pool)

Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned on Friday that Russian President Vladimir Putin believes he can use energy to “bully” Europe out of supporting Ukraine and urged the U.S.’s European allies to “stay united” in the face of Russian aggression.

Blinken said at a NATO press conference in Brussels that Putin has “weaponized energy against European countries standing up to his aggression, raising the costs on families, on businesses, on entire nations.”

“President Putin is betting that these actions will break the will of countries to stand with Ukraine. He’s betting that the Kremlin can bully other countries into submission,” Blinken said. “He’s already lost that bet.”

The Russian state-run energy company Gazprom shut off natural gas exports to Europe via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline after the Group of Seven agreed last week to place a price cap on Russian oil.

Despite previous efforts to reduce its dependence on Russian energy, Europe will likely still “pay a price” for its support of Ukraine this winter, according to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Blinken said the United States hopes to lessen that burden. 

“The United States is doing everything in its power to support people around the world who are shouldering the greatest cost of Russia’s aggression,” Blinken said. “We won’t leave our European friends out in the cold.”

He also noted that this represents an opportunity to shift away from dependence on Russian energy “once and for all” and transition to renewable sources.

“We can — we will — emerge stronger and in a better place,” Blinken said.

The NATO press conference came a day after Blinken made a surprise visit to Kyiv and announced the U.S. would provide more than $2 billion in new aid to Ukraine and other European countries threatened by Russia.

Tags Antony Blinken Antony Blinken Europe Jens Stoltenberg NATO Russia Russia-Ukraine conflict Russian energy russian invasion of ukraine ukraine Vladimir Putin Vladimir Putin
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