US worried EU resolve on Ukraine diminishes over energy crisis - CNN
Concern is growing in the United States about the European's resolve to fight against Russia using sanctions as the European energy crisis grows deeper.
The United States is concerned about the energy crisis in Europe weakening the drive of its European allies to continue supporting Ukraine against Russia while sanctioning the latter, CNN reported on Monday, citing sources familiar with the matter.
"Drive up energy prices and sap the domestic support generally, then drive them up further and piss people off enough to create some major political problems. Oil and natural gas are [Vladimir Putin's] hammer," the US network quoted an official as saying.
US President Joe Biden prioritizes bolstering political stability in Europe and preventing civil unrest, the media outlet's sources said, with officials in Washington closely following an anti-government protest in Prague, Czech Republic, that took place in early September, while still following up on and monitoring the situation in the continent.
The Russians "definitely want Europeans to be nervous - energy is their biggest tool for turning European public against the war," a source familiar with Western intelligence reportedly said.
Officials from Washington and Brussels are aware that the weather will determine what happens next, the report said, with an official cited by CNN saying that a warm winter would help Europe and the United States, as it would pass without depleting gas reserves. However, the source underlined that nothing could be said for sure.
EU chief Ursula von der Leyen proposed on Wednesday that the bloc's 27 nations agree on placing a price cap on Russian gas imports.
Von der Leyen's decision comes as a means of imposing further sanctions on Russia as the West looks for more means of punishing the country over the Ukraine war.
"The objective here is very clear. We must cut Russia's revenues which (Russian leader Vladimir) Putin uses to finance this atrocious war against Ukraine," the president of the European Commission told reporters.
Just hours earlier, President Putin had said Russia would stop supplying oil and gas to countries that impose price ceilings.
Capping prices, as some Western countries are considering, "would be an absolutely stupid decision," Putin told the Eastern Economic Forum in the Pacific port city of Vladivostok.
The G7 industrialized nations pledged last week to work quickly to establish a price cap on Russian oil imports in order to cut off a key source of funding for Moscow's military activity in Ukraine.