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Putin's Plan To Sow Unrest In Europe

Moscow is not escalating the war in a way that would change the rules (and there are rules). The rules are that Russia will not attack NATO and NATO will not attack Russia - it’s that simple. There has been no escalation in this sense. There has also been a lack of escalation within the rules of the game. Even when Ukraine targets Crimea, Russia does not retaliate in any meaningful way that would lead to an escalation. And now, Russia has cut natural gas flows to Europe via Nord Stream 1 - first under the guise of required maintenance that was supposed to last only three days, and then “indefinitely”, unless the West lifts sanctions that the Kremlin says are making it impossible to maintain pipelines. Now, Putin is threatening to cut the gas off completely for Europe, should the EU implement a proposed cap on Russian gas prices, as the G7 has done for Russian oil. 

What else does Putin have to weaponize that is within the confines of a war that is not a “war” and has never been declared anything other than a “special operation” by the Kremlin? The EU is set to ban Russian seaborne exports, as well, by December 5th - the same date the G7 has vowed to have a price cap plan in place for Russian oil. Putin, in turn, has said no Russian oil would be sold to anyone complying with a price cap. 

Presumably, the Kremlin has little additional economic leverage beyond this - and so far, outside of Ukraine - this has all…

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