The GuardianThe Guardian

How Putin’s plans to blackmail Europe over gas supply failed

By Philip Oltermann, Jon Henley, Angelique Chrisafis, Sam Jones and Shaun Walker

03 Feb 2023 · 5 min read

Editor's Note

The EU appears to have weathered the historic energy crisis triggered by the year-long Ukraine conflict. The Guardian looks at how the region was able to weaned itself off Russian gas so quickly.

The worst-case scenarios piled up over the summer months. Germany’s economic minister warned of “catastrophic” industrial shutdowns, fraying supply chains and mass unemployment. France’s president urged citizens to turn down the heating. Spain asked why countries that hadn’t got hooked on Russian gas should bail out neighbours who had lectured them about fiscal discipline in the past.

Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, meanwhile, gleefully predicted that Europeans would be “freezing in their homes” because they hadn’t thought through the consequences of throwing their support behind Ukraine. “The cold is coming soon,” he said, menacingly, in June last year.

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