Europe is fueling Putin’s war machine in Ukraine

These days, the European Union contributed $1 billion towards Vladimir Putin’s war equipment. Tomorrow, the EU will contribute yet another $1 billion to the Kremlin’s ongoing carnage of Ukrainian citizens. And $1 billion the upcoming day as well.

The payments will keep on to pour into Russia until eventually, we are assured, but rarely comforted, the EU cuts that quantity by a 3rd by the conclusion of 2022. By the yr 2030, just 8 quick decades from now, the EU hopes to wean by itself off of Russian electrical power resources.

By that date, if Europe has not ceded Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Georgia, Finland and other nations to Russia, Putin will ultimately be taught a lesson.

The billion-dollars-a-day for each diem will come in the kind of coal, fuel and oil that the EU buys to continue to keep its financial system buzzing alongside though educational institutions and maternity hospitals are staying obliterated in Mariupol and Kyiv and the bodies of ladies and little ones are piling up in morgues, while hundreds of thousands of refugees with an uncertain upcoming disperse through Europe. (The United States, not as dependent on Russian vitality resources, banned exports of Russian oil, liquefied purely natural gas and coal before this month.)

“But the sanctions!” the EU will argue. Glimpse at Russia’s faltering economy!

No. In its place, seem at the physique count and the humanitarian disaster at your borders. Work out the future costs of resettling those refugees or rebuilding Ukraine — that is, if the war and occupation end in Europe’s favor, which isn’t a sure bet at all. And undoubtedly not if the war spills into neighboring NATO nations around the world.

In a revealing interview with the BBC, Norway’s prime minister, Jonas Gahr Stoere, carefully parsed Europe’s reasoning for continuing its habit on Russia’s broad oil and gasoline reserves. Soon after pointing to the financial sanctions it has imposed, and the navy and humanitarian assist the EU is supplying, the prime minister admitted: “Europe is also responsible for possessing useful economies.”

Practical economies usually trump rescuing a democratic country. Be aware that Norway, which is the 10th most significant exporter of oil in the earth, is a single of the good beneficiaries of the growing power costs brought on by the existing war. No sense turning off that spigot of kroner just still, not when Norway’s sovereign prosperity fund is growing handsomely with each and every $140 barrel of oil bought on the environment market place.

BBC moderator Zeinab Badawi was not about to let the primary minister off the hook. She reported: “You are seeking to struggle Russian tanks with the banking companies, as it were being, and it is just not heading to be rapid plenty of.”

Stoere, whose place is not a member of the EU, countered: “I really do not get your equation. Europe has to however fuel its economic system, in just one way or the other. They are shopping for oil on the intercontinental market place. … They can not get down their own economies and at the exact same time resist what Russia is accomplishing.”

When Badawi noted that “Europe is failing” this examination of its take care of, Stoere responded: “To be honest, if Europe were being to stop shopping for oil and fuel (and coal) from Russia, it will not halt the war equipment fighting in Ukraine, regretfully.”

Stoere, the head of 1 of the NATO nations that shares a border with Russia, ongoing with some pretzel logic about Europe’s motivation to renewable electrical power resources such as wind, solar and the alternatively oxymoronic label for the supply regarded as “safe nuclear.” He believes that the latest high prices of gas and oil will force European nations to speedily changeover to renewables.

Nevertheless, in the short time period, the opposite is using place. Europe is turning towards less costly, additional polluting styles of energy these types of as coal. The United Kingdom is even considering lifting its 2019 ban on fracking for shale gasoline as a way to offset the spiraling electricity fees to British households.

As Bloomberg reported previously this month, Frans Timmermans, the EU’s weather czar, instructed lawmakers on the surroundings committee that “because of what is happening in Russia, there are no taboos in the selections member states can make.” Timmermans “left it up to each nation to come to a decision regardless of whether they will make up for burning far more fossil fuels in the limited term by boosting investments in renewables,” the report claimed.

As Russian bombs mercilessly strike civilian targets underneath Putin’s scorched earth technique, and as Europe pays for “the drama of war” by acquiring Russia’s extensive electrical power reserves, it is unachievable to “look beyond” to any sort of potential for the thousands and thousands of innocent victims, killed, trapped and held hostage in Ukraine.

Stephen J. Lyons is the creator of 5 textbooks of essays and journalism. His latest e-book is “West of East.”  ©2022 Chicago Tribune. distributed by Tribune Information Company.