NATO calls on Europe to diversify energy supply amid standoff with Russia

(EurActiv, 31 Jan 2022) Europe needs to diversify its energy supplies, the head of NATO said on Sunday (30 January), as Britain warned it was “highly likely” that Russia, a major natural gas supplier, was looking to invade Ukraine.

Russia has massed some 120,000 troops near its neighbour and demanded the western defence alliance pull back troops and weapons from eastern Europe and bar Ukraine, a former Soviet state, from ever joining the Western defence alliance.

US officials said on Saturday Russia’s military buildup had been expanded to include supplies to treat casualties of any conflict. Across the border in Ukraine, locals trained as army reservists as the government scrambled to prepare.

Moscow denies any plan to invade but said on Sunday it would ask NATO to clarify whether it intends to implement key security commitments after earlier saying the alliance’s response to its demands did not go far enough.

“If they do not intend to do so, then they should explain why,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on state television. “This will be a key question in determining our future proposals.”

The United States has said it is waiting to hear back from Russia. It says NATO will not withdraw from eastern Europe or bar Ukraine but it is prepared to discuss topics such as arms control and confidence-building measures.

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EurActiv, 1 Feb 2022: NATO calls on Europe to diversify energy supply amid standoff with Russia