Countries using energy supplies as a weapon, defence secretary claims

Downing Street has raised security concerns about a new gas pipeline from Russia to Europe

Jon Stone
Policy Correspondent
Saturday 09 October 2021 12:33
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<p>Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a ceremony marking the formal launch of the TurkStream pipeline which will carry Russian natural gas to southern Europe through Turkey,</p>

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a ceremony marking the formal launch of the TurkStream pipeline which will carry Russian natural gas to southern Europe through Turkey,

Energy supplies are increasingly being used as a "weapon" by foreign powers to put pressure on other countries, the defence secretary has said.

Ben Wallace's warning about "unconventional" weapons came as No.10 raised fears that a new gas pipe line being built by Russia could have security implications for the UK.

The minister's comments come as energy supplies, in particularly those of natural gas, squeeze ahead of what ministers have said will be a "difficult winter".

Mr Wallace told the Daily Telegraph newspaper: “We see some countries use energy, migration, cyber and organised crime as weapons.

"Our reforms and improved cross-government integration are all designed to resist the effects.”

A Downing Street spokesperson said on Friday that Britain had “repeatedly aired our significant concerns about NordStream 2, its implications for European energy security, its use in a decarbonised future and its impact on Ukraine”.

Critics say the pipeline would increase European dependency on Russian natural gas and have geopolitical implications.

Also week the French government threatened to use energy supplies as a way to "put pressure" on Britain to comply the Brexit agreement.

Speaking on Tuesday morning the country's Europe minister Clement Beaune told Europe 1 radio that France was exasperated by restrictions on French fishing fleets and that "the United Kingdom depends on our energy supplies".

He said measures would be taken at a national or European level in due course.

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