Editorial: where eagles dare
"I once got attacked by a bearskin rug, two days before it was a rug." Jarod Kintz (1982 - )
The Ukrainian crisis that has been rumbling on since December 2013 has descended into further lawlessness ahead of a vote on the secession of Crimea from the Eastern European state. And members of the 27 European member states are beginning to get restless.
Of the ten countries most dependent on natural gas imports, half are based in the European Union, and brought in a total of 11.5 trillion cubic feet in 2012.
Chief amongst these nations is Germany, which made up 27 per cent of that total. Almost all of her gas comes from the Russian Federation and reaches Griefswald in northern Germany via the Nord Stream pipeline, bypassing Ukrainian territory.
At 1,222 kilometres in length, it is the longest subsea pipeline in the world, and upon its inauguration in 2011, was criticised for reinforcing European energy dependence on the Russian state supply.
Although Germany, unlike other European nations, will not suffer directly from Russia closing the spigot on gas pipelines that intersect Ukrainian soil, Europe’s economic powerhouse must be wary of wider political fallout.
As Chancellor Angela Merkel mulls boycotting the 40th G8 Summit in the Olympic city of Sochi in June, the threat of EU sanctions on a teetering Russian economy may prompt the Bear to bar its teeth and sharpen its claws.
Is Europe playing a dangerous game of energy roulette with the Russian Bear? Have your say here