Putin strikes! Russia cuts gas supply after Biden’s troops make ‘destructive’ Poland move

Boris Johnson shakes his head at question about Vladimir Putin

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Gas flowing between Poland and Germany from Russia’s Yamal-Europe pipeline came to a halt for several hours. Russia has already been accused of meddling with gas supplies into Europe in the midst of the Ukraine crisis. The West has accused Russia of deliberately withholding gas and helping to drive prices to record levels.

Gas through the Yamal pipeline, which typically flows west into Germany, has been in reverse mode, flowing east to Poland, since December 21.

It was expected to finally reverse yesterday after Gazprom booked transit capacity for eight hours – starting from 9pm.

But Germany’s operator Gascade showed that the pipeline was at a standstill in both directions.

On Wednesday morning it was confirmed to have finally returned to normal, flowing westwards.

The Yamal pipeline usually makes up about a sixth of Russia’s annual gas exports to Europe and Turkey.

It appears to have been a power move from Mr Putin to show that he is prepared to withhold supplies.

The West has repeatedly accused Russia of “weaponising” gas supplies in part to boost pressure on German regulators to approve the new Nord Stream 2 link.

Russia has denied the accusations.

But it comes after Mr Putin and Hungarian President Viktor Orbán struck a deal that will see Russia ramp up gas deliveries to the Eastern European country until 2036.

This has come at a time when the rest of Europe is being deprived of Russia’s gas, the source of around 40 percent of its natural gas supplies.

Meanwhile, there are said to be around 100,000 Russian troops on the Ukraine border.

Brandon Weichert, author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower, told Express.co.uk: He said: “The Russia/Hungary gas deal, from a purely economic perspective (in terms of Hungary), was a brilliant move.

“At a time when most of Europe is starved of affordable natural gas because of the ongoing tensions in Ukraine between the West and Russia, Hungary swooped in and got a deal to purchase large quantities of natural gas from Russia at a fives times cheaper rate than what most other Europeans can purchase it for.

“This is obviously a deeply complicating factor for the wider NATO/EU alliance, as Washington attempts to coordinate a unified strategy for deterring Russian aggression in Eastern Ukraine.”

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Russia has warned that Ukraine joining NATO would be viewed as a direct threat.

And while Hungary is a NATO member, it denied the UK’s offer to station NATO troops in the country.

Mr Orbán and Mr Putin are also known to have close ties.

The US has already warned Mr Putin there will be “severe” consequences if he launches an invasion.

It comes after US President Joe Biden vowed to send 2,000 troops from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to Poland and Germany.

A further 1,000 already in Germany will go to Romania.

The Kremlin called the US deployment “destructive”.

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