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Vladimir Putin 'only hurting himself’ with gas blockade, former commander mocks

WorldVladimir Putin 'only hurting himself’ with gas blockade, former commander mocks

As the Russia-Ukraine war escalates with the potential risk of a full-blown nuclear war, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has upped the ante, saying if anyone is “intending to intervene”, his response will be “swift, lightning-fast” with the “tools” needed. According to former military commander Ben Hodges, this is yet another “blunder” by President Putin. But cutting gas off to Bulgaria and Poland, he said, will likely backfire on him and Russia.

Speaking to CNN, Commander Hodges said: “The fact that President Putin has decided to cut off gas to Poland and Bulgaria is another in a long line of strategic blunders by the President of the Russian federation.”

“This only accelerates the departure of his former customers who are now looking for alternative sources and alternative types.”

“So, he’s only hurting himself in the long run.”

According to Politico, Russia is heavily reliant on Europe for gas exports – one of its most critical economic sectors – amounting to about 45 percent of its exports.

This comes as the Russian gas giant Gazprom has suspended gas supplies to both Bulgaria and Poland, as both countries failed to abide by Putin’s demand of paying for gas in rubles. Bulgaria depends on Russia for 90 percent of its gas imports while Poland imports about 55 percent of its gas from Russia.

Bulgaria’s Energy Minister Alexander Nikolov told CNN he would seek all legal routes against Moscow after Gazprom breached its contracts. 

Minister Nikolov said in line with the EU’s stance: “We will not accept the fact that one of the parties within the contract decided to change entirely the payment mechanism, so we ended up where we are today.”

READ MORE: Russian propagandists mocked after denying military failure

In a sign of Putin’s increasing isolation in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Gazprom’s vice-president Volobuev has stepped down and left Russia in dissent over the war in Ukraine to join Ukrainian forces. Igor Volobuev, a Ukrainian national, told The Insider: “I could no longer observe from the outside what Russia is doing to my homeland”, adding he wants to “stay in Ukraine until the victory”.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a nightly address he looks forward to a post-war Ukraine and gave a shout-out to Ukrainians in the south protesting the presence of Russia’s occupying forces.

“The stronger our resistance now, the more rejection the occupiers will see, the sooner normal life will return to our land”, he concluded.

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