By Frederic Legrand – COMEO shutterstock.com
If you hadn’t already heard, last Russian President Vladimir Putin celebrated his 69th birthday. And while he was thrown a massive party that lasted for days like Obama was this year, his nation didn’t exactly disappoint when it came to gifting their seemingly forever president.
So what did they give him?
Well, it seems an entire new naval fleet is to be built, as was announced on Thursday, which was Putin’s birthday, according to the Daily Mail.
Now, to be sure, it’s not like the nation doesn’t already have a fleet at the ready. In fact, this will be their fifth. However, this one could be significant in making all of Putin’s dreams come true.
How you might ask…
To understand that, we must first take a quick look at the new would-be duties of the fleet.
According to multiple sources, the new fleet will be specifically charged with controlling and policing the commercial shipping in what is known as the Northern Sea Route. According to a Russian navy source and TASS, the state news agency, “It will be a separate formation within the Navy, and its responsibility will be to ensure the safety of the Northern Sea Route and the Arctic coast.”
More importantly, it would secure any and all polar energy reserves under Russia’s control.
Currently, those duties are juggled by Russia’s Northern and Pacific fleets, who patrol both the Baltic and Black seas. But once the new fleet is complete, those fleets will be freed up for other tasks, you know, such as “combat missions.”
Now, it’s important to note that Russia controls a massive amount of the energy resources that serve both Europe and Asia. And news of creating an entire fleet designed for nothing else but securing those resources have no doubt drawn some concern from those who rely on being in their good graces.
In the United Kingdom, for instance, on the same day that the fleet was announced, the price of natural gas rose a whopping 37 percent or one whole pound ($1.36), according to the Daily Mail.
Putin no doubt anticipated this reaction and so immediately went to the press and made a statement saying that Gazprom, the only Russian oil exporter, would begin increasing gas supplies to Europe soon. Naturally, this soothed the market some, bringing the price back down to about 2.87 pounds or $3.91.
However, some believe that Putin’s announcement is nothing more than smoke and mirrors, as Gazprom has made no actual plans to change anything about the gas deliveries to Europe.
According to Dennis Hesseling of the EU Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators in a recent interview with Euronews, “The deliveries from Gazprom, which has a monopoly on pipeline exports of Russian gas to Europe, are at the regular rate. They have, as far as we know, followed all the contractual commitments.”
The question is, why.
Some speculate that the move, or lack thereof, in this case, is meant to add pressure to the European Union for approval of Russia’s proposed state-run Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which would allow Russia to completely bypass the use of current Ukrainian pipelines that assist in the supply of energy resources to Europe. Basically, the new channel would add an even greater reliance on Russian energy for countries all over the continent.
However, others have suggested that the decision could be indicative that Russia is running low on their current energy resources, and at this time, are trying to build up their reserves for the upcoming winter before handing out more to their neighboring countries, according to Euronews.
In either case, it all means that Russia has become even more powerful and needed.
Could it be a mere coincidence then that this is all happening at a time when America and the leader of the free world seem to be at their weakest?
I mean, if China is suddenly converting civilian watercraft into warships and adding pressure to Taiwan in what seems to be a plan to begin a massive conflict, who’s to say that Russia is not gearing up to do the same? They did just announce plans to create an entirely new fleet…
Happy birthday, indeed!