A Baited Bear Bites Back


A trenchant recession, increasing political ostracisation over the ongoing Ukraine conflict, and a terror attack that killed 224 Russian holidaymakers flying home from Egypt, all conspired to make 2015 an "annus horriblis" for the Russian Federation.

After commencing an aerial campaign in October 2015 against Islamic State targets in Syria, a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 jet was downed by Turkish forces on the Turco-Syrian border. The bellicose exchanges that followed have fuelled strained relations between two nations that, historically, have been at each other’s throats for hundreds of years.

From the 18th century till the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Russo-Turkish Wars would take place roughly every twenty years. Although the recent conflagration in the Middle East is unlikely to entrain a wider conflict, once again NATO and Russia are locking horns in a tangle along the precipice.

Given such provocations, and the fact that half of NATO’s 28 members derive their natural gas from sources within the Russian Federation, it may not be long until the country that produces 16 per cent of the world’s gas makes good its threat and turns off the spigot.


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