A member of the Russian Parliament (Duma) from Vladimir Putin’s party suggested Moscow could target a European country with a cluster bomb attack.
Andrey Gurulyov argued Moscow could launch an attack on the Netherlands and effectively cripple Europe’s gas supplies in retaliation for the support shown to Ukraine since the start of the invasion last year.
Gurulyov appeared on Russia 1, the main channel of the country’s pro-Putin national broadcaster, to discuss the state of the conflict – outlining how Dutch oil refineries would be the ideal target for an attack.
The Duma member noted Europe voiced concerns about the ongoing war and the impact it is having on gas supplies, mentioning the still unclaimed attack on the Nord Stream gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea last year.
He said: “Now regarding Nord Stream. Well, there are enough speakers without me to talk about hypocrisy. I understand that there are issues of energy security in every country and in the same Europe, in the same Europe…
“It is, perhaps, very difficult to survive without gas. And also, studying at the General Staff Academy, I study the European theater of military operations.”
Gurulyov admitted to being “surprised” to learn that “almost 50 percent of oil refining is in the Netherlands,” noting “it’s very dense and very close to each other. Very dense.”
The comments spurred Russia 1 host, and Putin mouthpiece, Vladimir Solovyov to suggest the European nation would be “a perfect target for a cluster munition.”
Cluster bombs are weapons that open in the air and release additional smaller submunitions thus expanding the target area.
After months of hesitance, the US earlier this year agreed to supply cluster munitions to Ukraine to aid its effort to push Russian troops out of invaded territories.
More than 120 nations across the world have banned dual-purpose improved conventional munitions (DPICM) but Ukraine, the US and Russia have not.
Europe has seen its gas supplies drop significantly since the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 after decades of relying on Russia gas through the Nord Stream pipeline.
The pipeline accounted for 15 percent of the continent’s imports in 2021 and a second link, known as Nord Stream 2, was expected to be build but plans have since been discarded.
European nations have since shifted their supplies away from Russia after experiencing rocketing prices last winter, moving to Norway for supplies. Extra pipelines have also been opened in Greece and Poland.
The Netherlands opened liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals alongside Italy, Finland and Germany – with more expected to follow in the coming months.
The northwestern European country has also been coping with the closure of one of the continent’s biggest natural gas fields at Groningen, which at one point accounted for 90 percent of gas supplied to Dutch homes.
Extraction from the field had been slashed to near zero because of high earthquake activity but the government kept it open to address uncertainties following Russia’s invasion.
In a statement, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said complete closure will come on October 1, 2024 even though “uncertainty on the gas market is not expected to completely disappear… and may even continue to rise.”
They added: “After the coming winter, [authorities] will assess whether additional measures are necessary to ensure supplies after the field is closed.”
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