• English posts

    Lega Nord’s Bedfellows: Russians Offering Illicit Funding to Italian Far-Right Party Identified

    In a previous joint investigation with BuzzFeed News and the Insider, Bellingcat disclosed the inordinately frequent travel of two Italian politicians from the close circle of the head of Italy’s far-right party Lega Nord, and self-styled “Italian Trump” Matteo Salvini. As previously reported by Italian media and BuzzFeed, one of the frequent travelers and advisers to Italy’s deputy prime minister  – Gianluca Savoini – took part in a meeting in Moscow last October with three so-far unidentified Russian speakers. Continue reading the article on the Bellingcat news website.

  • English posts

    Nord Stream 2: Energy Security For Europe Or Prelude To Russian Aggression In The Baltic?

    Nord Stream 2 (NS2) has been subject to a vigorous debate and much disagreement on whether it provides an opportunity for diversification of gas supply to the European union or facilitates Russian dominance. But some go even further, suggesting that NS2 could become excuse for Russian expanded military presence or even military aggression in the Baltic Sea. The Project in a Nutshell  The Nord Stream 2 (NS2) project consists of two pipelines running across the bottom of the Baltic Sea carrying Russian natural gas to Germany. Once completed the two pipelines would offer 55 billion cubic meters (bcm) in annual capacity.  As such, NS2 is an attempt at duplicating the success of Nord…

  • Spanish posts

    “Putin es una bomba de relojería: un sociópata con poder y armas nucleares”

    Title, “Putin is a time bomb: a sociopath with power and nuclear weapons” Para el Gobierno ruso, Bill Browder (Massachusetts, 1964) es un agente, bien de la CIA o del MI6, un multimillonario que ha sobornado a políticos de todo el mundo, y forma parte de una conspiración sionista que tiene como objetivo dominar el mundo, y reducir a la mínima expresión el poder de Moscú y de su presidente, Vladimir Putin. Para quienes creen en su lucha, es un emprendedor entusiasta que lleva diez años empeñado en hacer justicia por la muerte de su auditor, el abogado Serguei Leonidovich Magnitsky (Odesa, 1972). Continue reading the Spanish published article on…

  • English posts

    U.S. Efforts To Derail Russian Pipelines To Europe Have Failed Since The 1960s. Will Nord Stream 2 Be Any Different?

    U.S. President Donald Trump will fly to Europe later this month to pursue a goal his predecessors going back to John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan failed to achieve — derailing a Kremlin-backed energy-export pipeline. The Trump administration and the U.S. Congress are fighting to block the 9.5 billion-euro ($10.6 billion) Nord Stream 2 project amid fears it will make NATO allies and other European countries more reliant on Russian energy and damage Ukraine by depriving it of transit fees. Continue reading the article on the Radio Free Europe news website.

  • English posts

    The Nord Stream 2 Pipeline And The Dangers Of Moving Too Rashly Toward Renewable Energy

    Few Americans likely noticed last week that Denmark refused to grant a permit for finishing construction of the Russian natural gas pipeline Nord Stream 2, but its international significance is enormous.  Denmark’s refusal is the latest chapter in a story of how good intentions in fighting climate change go bad.  It is a cautionary tale of how a country – in this case, Germany – while seeking to make itself and its energy use cleaner, more efficient and more self-sufficient, can produce the opposite of all three.  As climate change becomes more of an issue in America heading into the 2020 election season, Nord Stream 2 provides a case study of the…

  • German posts

    Die EU hat Trump höhere US-Flüssiggasimporte zugesagt – doch der Deal ist in Gefahr

    Bis 2023 will die Europäische Union die Importe von US-Flüssiggas verdoppeln. Doch Russland und Saudi-Arabien könnten den Plan durchkreuzen. BerlinDie Gefahr droht aus zwei entgegengesetzten Richtungen, und dazu noch von zwei Staaten, die früher einmal Erzfeinde waren: Russlandund Saudi-Arabien. Die EU hat den USA zugesagt, bis 2023 die Importe von US-Flüssiggas bis 2023 auf acht Milliarden Kubikmeter pro Jahr zu verdoppeln. Doch Moskau und Riad wollen auf diesem Markt auch mitmischen. So war der russische Gaskonzern Novatek im Februar erstmals der größte Importeur von verflüssigtem Erdgas (LNG) in Europa. Und der Oligarchen-Konzern hat noch größere Projekte in der Pipeline. Russland ist bereits größter Gaslieferant Europas – aber bisher ausschließlich über Pipelines. Und der…

  • English posts

    U.S. Senate Threatens Sanctions Over Russian Pipeline

    Washington and Berlin face off again over Nord Stream 2 as European ships are targeted. In the latest uptick of trans-Atlantic tensions, European ships involved in the construction of a controversial gas pipeline from Russia to Germany could be subject to U.S. sanctions under a new bipartisan bill that will be introduced in the U.S. Senate as early as Monday. The bill, sponsored by Sens. Ted Cruz, a Republican, and Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, would sanction companies involved in laying deep-sea pipelines for Russian energy projects, taking direct aim at the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which has emerged as a major source of tension between the United States and Germany. Foreign…

  • English posts

    EU Gas Directive Approval Could Delay Russian-Led Nord Stream 2 Pipeline

    The EU Council approved a European gas directive on April 15 that is expected to delay commissioning of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline – and potentially leave it half empty. By extending EU rules to non-EU pipelines — particularly those outside EU territory —  the directive will force Gazprom to “unbundle” or hand over operation of the line to a company independent of Russia’s state gas producer. However, Gazprom maintains a jealously guarded monopoly over gas exports from Russia and will be very reluctant to share the right to export with anyone. Currently, the only other entity allowed to export gas is privately owned Novatek, which is limited to…

  • English posts

    Nord Stream 2 threatens to take EU to court over gas rules

    The company behind the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is threatening to sue the EU if it’s not allowed to avoid new regulations that it says endanger the billions of euros that have been invested in the project. In a letter obtained by POLITICO, Nord Stream 2 CEO Matthias Warnig wrote to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker that if the pipeline is not eligible for a derogation from the new rules, “the measure would be discriminatory against [Nord Stream 2] as an investor” and the EU may be breaking an international treaty. The EU’s Gas Directive was revamped earlier this year and extends the bloc’s gas liberalization rules to cover new offshore gas…

  • English posts

    Nord Stream 2: A failed test for EU unity and trans-Atlantic coordination

    From its inception, the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline has triggered a controversial debate in the European Union and the United States. Sponsored by the Russian Gazprom (which is the sole shareholder), the German Wintershall and Uniper, the French ENGIE, the Austrian OMV, and Royal Dutch Shell, the Nord Stream 2 is expected to extend and double Nord Stream 1’s existing capacity, transporting Russian gas directly to Germany via the Baltic Sea. While the EU Council has just establishedthat pipelines with third countries must comply with EU gas rules, it remains unclear how this will impact Nord Stream 2––specifically, whether the pipeline will get an exemption or if its…

  • English posts

    Germany’s Social Democrats defend Nord Stream 2

    The Social Democratic Party (SPD) Parliamentary Group has published its official position on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline (NS2). The document outlines the party’s strategy on NS2 in the project’s final stage and future activation. Based on the assumption that NS2 is close to completion, the SPD intends to stabilise Germany’s central position as a hub for Russian gas in Europe. At the same time, the Social Democrats want to strengthen their message that NS2 will benefit the EU gas market, including by expanding the circle of those who will gain from the investment. The SPD’s consolidated position is principally intended to ensure that the party presents a consistent line…

  • English posts

    Last Stop for Some of Danske Bank’s Dirty Money: Spanish Real Estate

    Some of the $230 million at the heart of Europe’s widening money-laundering scandal was ultimately spent on Spanish real estate, according to anti-corruption prosecutors in Madrid. Their investigation following a trail that originated in Russia broadens an inquiry that so far has concentrated on the Baltic states and Scandinavian banks including Danske Bank A/S and Swedbank AB. The Spanish probe alleges that a money-laundering ring moved about 35 million euros ($39 million) through accounts in Moldova, Ukraine and Lithuania and then via Estonia to Spain, providing new details about the final destination of some of the cash. The funds “have been laundered since 2008 through an international structure of companies, banks and…

  • English posts

    Will Nord Stream 2 omit the gas directive?

    Politico and Ukrainian Naftogaz have organized a discussion about the future of energy security. The panelists were arguing about Nord Stream 2 and the relations between the European Union and Russia. Will the project omit the EU law? I am very curious how the Russians will avoid the principle of separation the pipeline ownership from gas transfer company. Continue reading the article on the Polish Biznes Alert news website.

  • English posts

    Europe is Entering its Golden Age of Gas

    In a 2011 report, the International Energy Agency (IEA) asked a provocative question: are we entering a golden age of gas? At the time, U.S. shale gas production was surging and new fields were coming online around the globe, encouraged by high oil prices. Gas, it seemed, was poised to “play a far more prominent role in the global energy mix.” Since 2011, the short answer to the IEA’s question has been ‘not yet,’ at least on a global scale. Though many of the IEA’s assumptions have been coming to fruition in the last two years, including major demand growth from China, major supply growth from unconventional sources, and low growth…

  • English posts

    How to lose friends and alienate people or Germany on Nord Stream 2

    Germany’s proceedings around Nord Stream 2 will not only hurt this country, but also European common policy as a whole from a security point of view. Additionally, they are undermining Germany’s already-fragile position as the European mediator and dealmaker. In the 1970s Henry Kissinger famously wondered, “Who do I call if I want to call Europe?” His statement underlined the Old Continent’s lack of common policy. Divisions of this nature are especially evidenced in contemporary times when it comes to the Nord Stream 2 project. The European Commission (EC) already assumed that this project, which calls for the construction of another gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, would not serve common European…

  • English posts

    U.S. House passes bill to lure Europeans away from Nord Stream 2

    WASHINGTON, March 26 (WNM staff/TASS) –  The House of Representatives of the US Congress voted on Monday for the bill on assisting Central and Eastern European countries to diversify energy supplies sources for countering Russia’s influence, with 391 and 24 congressmen voting for and against the bill, respectively. A live broadcast of the voting was provided by the C-SPAN TV channel. The bill must be passed by the Senate and then be signed by the President to become law. The authors of the draft law suggest that it is necessary for the US to assist “Central and Eastern European countries to reduce their dependence on energy resources from countries that…

  • English posts

    The Credibility of German Multilateralism

    Berlin’s consistent calls to protect multilateralism in the wake of President Donald Trump’s verbal attacks on the post-1945 institutions often ring hollow. That’s all Berlin’s allies needed to hear. Finance Minister Olaf Scholz intends to reduce Germany’s defense budget. It will rise to 1.37 percent of national income in 2020 but fall to 1.25 percent by 2023. Forget the fact that just last year Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right government had planned to increase defense spending to 1.5 percent by 2024. And forget too that it was Merkel who, at the NATO summit in Wales in 2014, promised with other allies that Germany would in principle spend 2 percent of its gross domestic…

  • English posts

    Russian hackers are targeting European governments ahead of May election, FireEye says

    Russian hackers have targeted European government systems ahead of the EU parliament election, cybersecurity firm FireEye said Thursday. The company found that two state-sponsored hacking groups, APT28 and Sandworm, used spear phishing — the practice of sending out emails designed to look like they’re from a trusted party — in an attempt to obtain government information. FireEye said European government institutions were sent emails with links to websites that appeared to be authentic, luring a person into changing their password and thus sharing their credentials with hackers. APT28, more popularly known as Fancy Bear, is believed to be linked to Russian military intelligence agency GRU and has been labeled as one…

  • English posts

    Nord Stream 2 eyes way to curb EU oversight of $9.5bn pipeline

    The group building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to import Russian gas into Germany is exploring plans to hive off its last 50km into a separate company, a move that would undermine EU plans to regulate the entire $9.5bn project. Under the proposal, a new company would own and manage the small part of the undersea pipeline within German territorial waters. While this section would be subject to EU rules, the rest of Nord Stream 2 — nearly 1,200km through the Baltic Sea — would remain outside the bloc’s jurisdiction, according to three people familiar with the plans. The plan, while in its early stages, could stoke further criticism of…

  • English posts

    European Parliament calls to Stop Nord Stream 2

    The members of the European Parliament also came to a conclusion that Russia can no longer be considered “a strategic partner” PARIS, March 12. /TASS/. The European Parliament considers necessary to curtail the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, according to the report on the state of EU-Russia political relations approved on Tuesday. “Russia and the EU will remain key economic partners in the foreseeable future, but Nord Stream 2 reinforces EU dependency on Russian gas supplies, threatens the EU internal market and is not in line with EU energy policy, and therefore needs to be stopped,” the report says. “The EU’s dependency on Russian gas supplies has increased since…