The western media has to carry a major share of the blame for these serial failures of diplomacy.

Outraged western leaders are threatening a price cap on imports of Russian natural gas after Moscow cut supplies to Europe this month, deepening the already dire energy and cost-of-living crisis. In response, Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that Europe will “freeze” this winter unless there is a change of tack.

In this back-and-forth, the West keeps stepping up the rhetoric. Putin is accused of using a mix of blackmail and economic terror against Europe. His actions supposedly prove once more that he is a monster who cannot be negotiated with and a threat to world peace.

Denying fuel to Europe as winter approaches, in a bid to weaken the resolve of European states to support Kyiv and alienate the European public from their leaders, is Putin’s opening gambit in a plot to expand his territorial ambitions from Ukraine to the rest of Europe.

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