Putin ‘running out of cards to play’

Putin furious over no contracts at companies

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Vladimir Putin will no longer be able to manipulate Europe with gas after the continent weaned itself off Russian resources, economists from Yale tell Express.co.uk. Jeffrey Sonnenfeld and Steven Tian have conducted extensive research on the Russian economy following Putin’s invasion of Ukraine last February.

Their figures show that the EU’s imports of gas from Russia are down to just nine percent of their total imports, having previously been 46 percent.

European countries are now on course to completely ditch Russian gas, and this will have consequences for Moscow – both for its economy and its military in Ukraine.

Mr Sonnenfeld explained: “India and China have no interest in paying for Russian gas…Russia still can’t make money to fuel its war machine.

“Russia is also really inefficient in producing oil. They are just barely breaking even in their energy space, which means it cannot fuel Putin’s war machine.”

Mr Tian added: “The most important thing is that Putin’s running out of cards to play, and he is running out of economic relevance.

“All he had was the energy card. He’s played that card and failed. He was banking on a cold winter making Europe freeze and beg for Russian energy again.

“We are never going to need Russian gas again. If Putin thinks he can come back to the table and sell gas to Europe next year, he is in for a rude surprise.

“All that new supply is not going away and Putin won’t be able to recover his lost markets. Putin also tried holding food hostage and failed.

“The global economy has replaced Russia, they are out of cards to play.”

While it’s hard to put an exact figure on how much the Russian economy could suffer from losing Europe as a customer, Mr Sonnenfeld and Mr Tian believe Moscow has already lost upwards of $100billion (£82billion).

And they add that it will get worse for Russia in 2023, because Europe will soon be completely weaned off of Russian gas.

Mr Tian continued: “$100billion is what Russia lost in the last year. Moving forward they are going to lose even more because in 2022 Europe was still buying gas from Russia.

“Going forward, Europe is never going to need Russian gas again. All of that 83 percent of Russian gas that went to Europe is going to have to go somewhere else.

“It was 170billion cubic metres that Russia sent to Europe compared to just 16.5billion cubic metres to China (in 2022). That’s less than 10 percent of what they sent to Europe.

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“Half of the Russian government budget comes from oil and gas. All of that is gone, that’s massively impactful, but we are only just starting to see the impact of that in Russia.

“In 2022 the impact was cushioned, but moving forward the loss of this gas revenue will be permanent. It will be catastrophic and there’s no way for Russia to resolve that.”

Mr Sonnenfeld added: “The only thing Putin had other than a collapsing army was energy. Now there is nothing that Russia brings to the world marketplace other than raw materials.

“They have no value added to the world market, and now the world is finding alternatives to their resources. All Putin has done is set his country back 30 years in terms of trust from the markets.”

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