Russia accuses US of threatening global energy security

Moscow slams Washington’s sanctions on a new LNG plant in the Arctic as ‘unacceptable’.

Arctic LNG 2 plant
A concrete gravity-based structure (GBS) of Arctic LNG 2 joint venture is seen under construction in a dry dock of the LNG Construction Centre near the settlement of Belokamenka, Murmansk region [File: Stringer/Reuters]

Russia has claimed that US sanctions levied against the Arctic LNG 2 project undermine global energy security.

The Russian foreign ministry’s spokeswoman hit out on Wednesday at Washington’s “unacceptable” move to clamp down on the massive Arctic LNG 2. The sanctions are just the latest measure implemented as the West seeks to limit Moscow’s financial ability to wage war in Ukraine.

The remarks came after Washington announced sanctions against the new liquefied natural gas plant that is under development on the Gydan Peninsula in the Arctic last month.

“We consider such actions unacceptable, especially in relation to such large international commercial projects as Arctic LNG 2, which affect the energy balance of many states,” said foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova.

“The situation around Arctic LNG 2 once again confirms the destructive role for global economic security played by Washington, which speaks of the need to maintain this security but in fact, by pursuing its own selfish interests, tries to oust competitors and destroy global energy security.”

Russia is the fourth-largest producer of sea-borne LNG behind the United States, Qatar and Australia.

The Arctic LNG 2 project is a key element in Russia’s efforts to boost its share of the global market to a fifth by 2030-2035 from 8 percent now.

However, the sanctions saw partners from China, Japan and France who hold a combined 40 percent of the project suspend participation last week. Project developer Novatek was also forced to declare force majeure over LNG supplies from the project, which was slated to start production in early 2024.

Western countries, seeking to cripple Moscow’s military might, have imposed wide-ranging sanctions against Russian firms and individuals following the Kremlin’s decision to send tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine in February last year.

However, Russia insists that Europe has been hit harder by the sanctions due to raised energy prices, while it has been successful in swiftly finding new markets in Asia.

Almost all of Russia’s oil exports this year have been shipped to China and India, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said on Wednesday.

Wave of drones

Russia hopes that the income from Asian energy customers can continue to help drive its invasion, as it eyes Ukraine’s struggle to access funds and weapons from Western partners.

On Wednesday, Ukrainian authorities said two people were killed after Russian forces sent a wave of attack drones against the country in an overnight raid.

The Ukrainian air force said that 32 of 46 Iranian-made drones deployed by Russia had been shot down.

The air force said the military had destroyed drones over parts of central, southern and western Ukraine. Most of those that got through defences struck near the front line, mainly in the southern Kherson region.

Oleh Kiper, the governor of Ukraine’s Odesa region, said that a 35-year-old man was killed by debris from a downed drone in a residential area. Another man died in the hospital from his injuries.

Four others, including a 17-year-old boy, were injured, according to Kiper.

More than 10,000 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since Russia’s full-scale invasion, with about half of recent deaths occurring far behind the front lines, according to the UN Human Rights Office.

Source: Reuters