Europe catastrophically lacks gas

Summary

Europe catastrophically lacks gas. In addition to gas from the [Nord Stream 2] pipeline, it will be necessary to purchase more and more Russian liquefied gas. The launch of Nord Stream 2 will greatly increase the export of Russian gas to Europe.

Disproof

This case is part of the Kremlin's recurring disinformation campaign about the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

Europe is not "catastrophically lacking gas" - on the contrary, there is enough natural gas supply that prices in Europe have been going down this year. This is because the continent has been flooded with liquefied natural gas (LNG) from a number of suppliers since fall 2018, including the United States. A mild winter in Asia has driven gas prices to a three-year-low level and caused LNG shipments to be redirected to Europe, pushing down the prices. As Polygraph explains, energy experts say LNG has allowed natural gas to become a global commodity that can easily move from one continent to another depending on demand, similar to the way oil is traded.

Moreover, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline will not import any new Russian gas to Europe; it will simply divert Gazprom’s current transit through the Ukrainian route to Nord Stream 2. Indeed, about 40 percent of Gazprom's transmission capacity to Europe is not utilized - Gazprom's currently unused export capacity to the EU is almost 100 bcm, which contradicts the claim that constructing a new 55-bcm pipeline is necessary to increase gas imports to the EU.

More background is available here. For more disinformation cases about Nord Stream 2, see here.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 169
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 15/10/2019
  • Language/target audience: Czech
  • Country: Russia, Europe
  • Keywords: gas, Nord Stream 2, Energy
  • Outlet: Sputnik
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NATO forced Ukraine to adopt anti-Russian foreign policy

Ever since gaining independence in 1991, Ukraine has pursued a policy of keeping as much distance from Russia as possible, which is actually part of NATO’s expansion strategy.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin narratives painting NATO as an aggressive, expansionist military bloc; casting Ukraine as an artificial and/or failing state, fatally dependent on Western sponsorship and unable to make its own strategic choices

NATO does not determine Ukrainian foreign policy, Ukraine does (Arts. 85, 92, 106, 116). As such, different Ukrainian presidents and governments have emphasised a variety of foreign-policy priorities and preferences.

The Rail Baltic project is frozen, it will be destroyed in a war

The construction of the Rail Baltic railway was postponed for another two years because the Baltics don’t have enough money. It seems like the Rail Baltic project has permanently “frozen”.

There is no point in building infrastructure to the “front line” because it would be destroyed in the first hours of a large scale war.

Disproof

Rail Baltic is currently undergoing a design phase. In March 2019, a contract was signed to design a section of the Rail Baltic railway in Estonia. This was the first design contract signed for the main line of Rail Baltica. In April 2019, a similar contract was signed for a section in Lithuania, and in July, a design works contract was signed in Latvia. By September 2019, design works and site investigations had started on 411 km of the railroad.

Pro-Kremlin media often use the narrative of a "great war that will destroy everything, so there is no point in doing anything". This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative based on groundless speculation. Sometimes it's used in combination with the narrative that "Russia is not a threat" (and dismissing the annexation of Crimea). Other times, the narrative that "Russia is not a threat" is paired with the narrative where Russia destroys its adversaries with a nuclear bomb.

NATO buried Latvia’s and Lithuania’s independence and is currently targeting Belarus

NATO has since buried the independence of Latvia and Lithuania, now its military forces aim to steal Belarus’ independence. To prevent this, it is important to remain Russia’s ally, to discuss the establishment of a Russian airbase in Belarus, to send a diplomatic note of protest to the U.S. and to send opposition politicians who support the location of US military bases in the vicinity of Belarus to court martial as national traitors. The whole Belarusian opposition celebrated the stationing of U.S. troops in Lithuania. When American tanks target the windows of their houses they feel safe.

Disproof

This is a conspiracy theory aimed to discredit the West and democratic Belarusian opposition. It is consistent with recurring propagandist narratives about the Baltic states' lost sovereignty and their subordination to the US and NATO, US/NATO aggressive plans towards Belarus, and destructive actions of the Belarusian opposition guided by the West. It was not reported that any of Belarus' opposition political parties praised the stationing of regular US troops in Lithuania.

See earlier disinformation cases alleging that Lithuania is occupied by NATO, that the Belarusian opposition, civic activists and independent journalists make kill lists for Western security bodies, that NATO is planning to invade Belarus, and that the Belarusian opposition is tasked by the West to disrupt Belarusian-Russian integration.