Right now, Russia depends for a significant part of its revenues from European gas buyers. If Russia does not deliver the goods, Europe does not pay them. Sure, no gas from Russia would be a mighty blow for many European countries, but what would happen. LNG prices would soar attracting new supplies into the continent. Coal and oil would make a revival and the world would feast on the bonanza. Europe would scramble to get out of its predicament. After 2-4 hard years, it would have gotten pretty far with this. Russia, meanwhile, would be an economic corpse as it’s not ready to survive such a blow. Europe would hurt, but it would easily survive. Russia plays a pretty good game with a lousy deck of cards.
Right now, a dozen European countries rely on Russia for more than 75 percent of their natural gas needs. This makes United States allies and partners vulnerable to having their gas shut off at Moscow’s whim. Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly proven his willingness to use Russia’s gas supply as a weapon, having blocked the flow of gas to neighbors in 2006, 2009, 2014, and most recently in March of last year.