‘General Winter’ In Europe: US To Make Hay – OpEd


The next few months are likely to see Europe’s weather taking a turn for the worse with freezing temperatures, increasingly heavy snowfalls. Once the snow sets in, it’s generally lasts until April. The winter has favoured Russia in its many wars in the past, hence earning the name ‘General Winter’. The winter has favoured Russia in its many wars in the past but that was against the attackers extended logistic lines. In June 1812, when French emperor Napoleon invaded Russia during the ‘General Winter’, the result was a disaster for his 4,50,000-strong army. The defeated French Army had to return from Moscow, with only 40,000. German dictator Hitler’s forces suffered a similar fate in World War II. 

As the biting cold sets in Ukraine, both sides will face severe challenges depending on the severity of the winter. Ukraine’s President Zelensky has already warned in October; “This will be the most difficult winter in the whole world”.NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg had earlier accused Russia of trying to use winter as a “Weapon of War”. But this time Russia is the invader and the Russians will suffer what the Hitler and Napoleon’s military experienced. Far from home, with long logistic lines, uncertain supplies of food and in extreme cold weather morale will be difficult to maintain for the attacker.

The Ukrainian Crisis is more about Gas GeoEcoPolitics 

Russia is a major player in global energy markets. Russia is the world’s second largest in natural gas production and third largest oil producer after the US and Saudi Arabia. Most of the natural gas supply to the EU comes from Russia. In 2020, Russian gas accounted for 43% of the total gas imports into the EU.

The Ukrainian crisis is less about Ukraine but more about gas supply for the US. It’s about Germany and, in particular, a pipeline that connects Germany to Russia called Nord Stream 2. This is why the Biden administration opposes Nord Stream. It’s not just a pipeline; it’s a window into the future bringing Europe and Asia closer while leaving the US on the limb both politically and economically resulting in slowly losing the hold on NATO.

The US has opposed on the grounds that direct supply of Russian gas to Europe would strengthen Russia’s economic and political influence over the region. The US wishes to sell its liquified natural gas to Europe and therefore the opposition to Russian gas.US also feared that Russian military presence in the Baltic Sea and in the Swedish economic zone. Fiber optic cables and repeater stations along the pipeline could be used for espionage. The US also views the pipeline as a geopolitical tool for Russia to undermine energy and national security, increasing Moscow’s leverage over Europe.

Europe will bear the brunt of this escalating Ukraine crisis. Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline being kept on hold will depend more on the Americans for as long as they are able to meet the German gas requirement and at what price?  The big question now is when will finally Russian Siberian gasdelivery start through Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Germany or will a $11 billion project remain idle! 

Putin’s reason to attack Ukraine’s power plants with the onset of winter is that he wants the Ukrainian population to suffer. Russia has taken advantage of the biting cold by attacking energy and heating systems leading to power cuts across Ukraine as it “seeks to undermine public morale. 

Why the Price Cap on the Russian Oil?

On December 3, 2022, G7 members formally set the highly anticipated price cap on Russian oil at 60 USD per barrel. “A price cap will help limit Mr Putin’s ability to profiteer off the oil market so that he can continue to fund a war machine that continues to kill innocent Ukrainians,” US national security spokesman John Kirby.

The introduction of the cap means participating countries will only be allowed to buy oil and petroleum products transported via sea that are sold at or below the price cap. Wonder such a price tag can be implemented. It is left to Russia to whom it wants to sell and at what price.

Putin has previously warned that Russia would not sell oil under a price cap and would retaliate against nations that implement the measure. Europe with this cap is jeopardizing its own energy security for the ‘General Winter’ and benefit the American oil business.

Britain’s freezing winter is now Spring Time for US 

In Britain’s efforts to protect its energy security since the start of the war in Ukraine has been a new deal to double its supplies of liquified natural gas from the US. What is described as the “UK-US Energy Security and Affordability Partnership” is neither security nor affordability for Britain. 

US is not doing this just to help a long-standing ally in distress. It has struck a similar deal with the EU. Will shipload of oil crossing the Atlantic cost lesser than the Russian oil? Who is fooling whom? It is also wrong to suggest to the British public that this will help them through the Winter. Yes but with a heavy cost on their daily household budget. The lucrative deal will, however, make wealthy American energy producers even richer and for Joe Biden it is a welcome shot-in-the-arm. Ukraine War has been a Win-Win situation for the American arms industry and energy business. The US has also been able to weaken Russia economically and in the Global power rank standing.


Britain’s freezing winter is now springtime for US energy businesses by Mark Blacklock

Patial RC

Patial RC is a retired Infantry officer of the Indian Army and possesses unique experience of serving in active CI Ops across the country and in Sri Lanka. Patial RC is a regular writer on military and travel matters in military professional journals. The veteran is a keen mountaineer and a trekker.

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