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The Global South Is Keeping Russia’s Energy Economy Afloat

Eugene Chausovsky

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Gas and oil flows are reshaping geopolitical alignments.

As villages and towns change hands in Ukraine during the counteroffensive operations against Russian forces and Moscow grapples with internal instability following Wagner’s failed mutiny, the global energy map is also being redrawn. The war has not only dramatically reduced oil and natural gas flows between Russia and Europe, but it has reshaped energy connections around the world. This evolving shift in energy connectivity could play a significant role in shaping the outlook of the standoff between Russia and the West, as well as Ukraine’s own future.

Ukraine’s own energy sector has been decimated by Russia’s full-scale assault against the country dating back to February 2022. More than half of the country’s power generation plants have been destroyed or damaged, either accidentally or as a result of direct targeting by Russian forces. The public faces frequent cuts in power, heating, and water, and the economic toll has been valued by some estimates at more than $10 billion. The recent destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam will place even more pressure on Ukraine’s energy sector and economy as a whole.

The West has also been substantially impacted. In the aftermath of Russia’s invasion, the U.S. and EU passed the strongest sanctions to date against the Russian energy sector while making ambitious plans to diversify away from Russian oil and natural gas supplies. The United States cut imports from Russia almost immediately, while the EU—traditionally Moscow’s largest market for energy exports—stopped all seaborne Russian oil imports by the end of 2022 and has reduced Russia’s share of its total natural gas imports from around 40 percent prior to the war to below 10 percent in the beginning of 2023.

Read the rest in Foreign Policy.