The twists and turns European Union members have gone through to arrive at the agreement they reached on Tuesday on reducing their natural gas consumption by 15 percent this winter speak volumes of what a challenge they have subjected themselves to by joining the US-led sanctions against Russia.
The purpose of the gas demand reduction is to make savings ahead of winter in order to prepare for possible disruptions of gas supplies from Russia.
The European Council also foresees the possibility of triggering a "Union alert" on security of supply, in which case the gas demand reduction would become mandatory, although the European Council specified some exemptions and possibilities to request a derogation from the mandatory reduction target, in order to reflect the particular situations of member states.
In a statement announcing the agreement, the Council accused Russia of "continuously using energy supplies as a weapon". Yet the EU has put itself in this position by blindly following the United States in its campaign against Russia. As well as providing material support for Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, it has continuously increased its sanctions on Russia, weaponizing market access, finance, logistics and technology.
It is ridiculous to expect Russia to keep providing a stable supply of natural gas to the countries that are imposing crippling sanctions on it.
The shortage of energy has triggered a chain reaction. As the shortage of energy becomes increasingly acute, many countries, including such green development pioneers as Germany, have started increasing their coal burning to maintain a basic supply-demand balance.
That means the US-led sanctions, which are fundamentally contradictory to the need to build a lasting, sustainable and balanced security mechanism in Europe, are also overdrawing on the future development prospects of the world.
What the European countries need to show is not that they will stand united against their largest energy supplier but that they can work together to prevent European interests from being hijacked by the US.
And it is not Russia that has attempted to divide the EU, but the US, with the aim of misleading the EU into believing that binding itself to the US is the only way it can ensure its security.
In doing that, the EU has made itself less secure, and turned the continent into a buffer zone for the US in its power struggle with Russia.