Germany hosts more than 250,000 Ukrainian refugees

President Joe Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen speak to the press about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, at the US Mission in Brussels, Belgium, March 25. (Evan Vucci/AP)

US President Joe Biden has announced a new initiative to deprive Russian President Vladimir Putin of European energy profits used to “fuel his war machine”.

Speaking in Brussels alongside European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Biden said Russia was using its grip on Europe’s oil and gas supplies to ‘coerce and manipulate its neighbours’ .

Biden said the United States would help Europe reduce its dependence on Russian oil and gas and ensure the continent has enough supplies for the next two winters.

“It is going to take some time to adjust the gas supply chains and infrastructure that have been built over the last decade, so we are going to have to make sure that families in Europe can get through this winter and the next while we are building infrastructure. for a diverse, resilient and clean energy future,” Biden said.

The panel, chaired by representatives of the White House and the European Commission, will aim to find alternative sources of liquefied natural gas supply and reduce the overall demand for natural gas in the future.

Europe’s dependence on Russian gas and oil has proven a major sticking point in Western efforts to punish Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine. While the United States has banned Russian energy imports, Europe has found it much more difficult to cut off its supplies.

“I know that eliminating Russian gas will have costs for Europe, but it’s not only the right thing to do from a moral standpoint, it’s going to put us on a much stronger strategic footing.” , Biden said.

The United States will strive to supply Europe with at least 15 billion cubic meters of liquefied natural gas in 2022, in partnership with other nations, the White House said.

Senior administration officials said the 15 billion cubic meters of liquefied natural gas sent to Europe came from several sources, including the United States and countries in Asia. But officials had no exact breakdown on where the gas came from.

Friday’s announcement was the culmination of a US effort over the past few months to identify alternative energy sources for Europe, particularly in Asia. Officials said these efforts would continue throughout this year to reach the 15 billion cubic meter target.

One official said that weaning Europe off Russian energy is like “replacing an unreliable LNG supplier with a much more reliable supplier in the United States”.

The group will also strive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing methane emissions and using clean energy to power operations.

“This crisis also presents an opportunity. It’s a catalyst,” Biden said. “A catalyst that will spur the investments we need to double our clean energy goals and accelerate progress toward our zero-net emissions future.”

Von der Leyen hailed the joint energy task force as a “big step” in efforts to diversify gas supplies away from Russia.

“We want, as Europeans, to diversify away from Russia, towards suppliers we trust, who are friends and who are reliable and, therefore, the American commitment to supply the European Union at least an additional 15 billion cubic meters of LNG this year is a big step in that direction, as it will replace the LNG supply we currently receive from Russia,” von der Leyen said at the conference. hurry.

The United States has also pledged to ensure stable demand and supply for an additional 50 billion cubic meters of U.S. liquefied natural gas through 2030, which von der Leyen says will replace a third of gas supply. Russian to Europe.

This puts the bloc “on the right track now”, she said, stressing the need for the EU to secure supplies “not only for next winter, but also for years to come”.

Moreover, as the current gas infrastructure could be used in the future for clean hydrogen, it contributes to the “decarbonization of our economy”, she continued.

EU-US cooperation “shows the power of our democracies”, and Biden’s presence in Europe sends a “powerful message to the world”, she added.

About Victoria Rothstein

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