Russia's threat to halt energy exports to countries that carry out the latest European Union sanctions is a serious development that didn't occur even at the height of the Cold War.
Besides the immediate pains that would be inflicted and the adjustments to the global energy landscape that would occur if that happened, it would also consolidate the new Cold War that is forming.
And, if the present pattern of mutually escalatory actions by Russia and the West continues unchecked, the prospects may be far bleaker than the last one.
Both Washington and Brussels have expressed in explicit terms that they will do anything in their power to weaken Russia.
But, as the energy concerns throughout Europe indicate, the price for their goal of permanently getting rid of what to them is a thorn in their side may be unbearable, for some European countries, at least.
Judging from what happened on Friday, neither side wants to be the first to yield. Instead, both sides seem to believe the other will do so. That is exactly why the present struggle is more exhausting than expected.
G7 finance ministers issued a statement on Friday agreeing to impose a price cap on Russian oil exports in line with EU sanctions announced earlier this year, which is scheduled to take effect on Dec 5. Meanwhile, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen proposed to do the same to Russian pipeline gas to thwart Moscow's alleged attempts to manipulate the energy market.
Hours later, Russia's state-controlled Gazprom announced an indefinite extension to a three-day maintenance halt to flows of gas through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, the artery for the supply of Russian gas to Germany, citing a technical fault. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said his country will stop selling oil to companies and countries implementing the EU cap.
Although the EU has met its gas storage goal, member countries will still have to scramble to find alternative supplies for the coming winter months, during which both the EU and Western solidarity against Russia and Russia's endurance under the onerous sanctions will be put to the test.
The outcome of the tug-of-war will have far-reaching ramifications for both sides and the broader international community.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian quoted former UK parliamentarian George Galloway as saying the US is ready to let Ukraine fight and let Europe bleed to their last drop of blood.
In other words, Washington is sacrificing allies to secure its own global hegemony.
That is something the US' allies elsewhere should take note of.