Winter is Coming: How the UK Should Respond to Russia’s Weaponisation of Energy Sources This Winter

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Winter is Coming: How the UK Should Respond to Russia’s Weaponisation of Energy Sources This Winter

1st August 2023 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine led to an unprecedented crisis in Ukraine and across the globe. Thousands have died, over 8 million people have fled Ukraine, and the current cost of Ukraine’s post war reconstruction stands at $411bn according to the latest World Bank Report. In the attempt to stop Russia’s aggression, the West adopted unprecedented sanctions against Russia, among which and to their own cost, Western countries restricted the imports of Russia’s oil and gas. In the long-run, the plan is to cut reliance on Russia’s energy sources altogether.

The EU has struggled to cut off Russia completely – due to its high reliance on Russian energy imports. However, the UK, which has always been comparatively less reliant on Russia, has been able to do so relatively quickly. One could have assumed that low reliance on Russia’s oil and gas would imply that the UK might not be as badly hit by the energy crisis. Nevertheless, as we came to see, British households suffered as greatly as their continental neighbours.

To try and prevent another difficult winter, The Henry Jackson Society is pleased to launch its latest report titled “Winter is Coming: How the UK Should Respond to Russia’s Weaponisation of Energy Sources This Winter”. The report will seek to investigate the causes of what might constitute such a difficult winter in the UK, the policies the government has adopted thus far and their efficacy, and the likely course of the energy crisis in the UK during the upcoming 2023/24 winter. Finally, the paper will provide policy recommendations to the British government which could hopefully prevent or at the very least mitigate an energy and cost of living crisis during the upcoming winter.



Dr Helena Ivanov is an associate research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society. She recently completed a PhD in International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her research focuses on the relationship between propaganda and violence against civilians. In her thesis, Helena examined the role propaganda played during the Yugoslav Wars and produced a model for studying propaganda which details the key phases, functions, discourses, and techniques of propaganda (the model itself is applicable to other contexts). Additionally, Helena also served as a Manager at the Centre for International Studies at the LSE.

Prior to her PhD, Helena completed an MPhil in Political Theory at the University of Oxford, and holds a BA in Politics from the University of Belgrade.



Dr Adnan Vatansever is a Reader in Russian Political Economy in the King’s Russia Institute. His research focuses broadly on the political economy of energy and economic policy-making in Russia/Eurasia. His recent book, Oil in Putin’s Russia: The Contests over Rents and Economic Policy, examines the political economy of resource rent management in contemporary Russia. His ongoing research projects focus on economic rents in authoritarian settings, and energy security and energy transition in Europe. Previously, he worked as a senior associate in the energy and climate program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a senior associate in Russian and Caspian energy at IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates, and a consultant for the World Bank.



Lisa Waters is a founding Director of Waters Wye Associates (WWA), a regulatory and commercial energy consultancy specialising in GB gas, power and retail issues. She is an economist with over twenty years’ experience in the energy sector. Lisa is an industry elected representative on the Balancing and Settlement Code (BSC) Panel and works on codes such as the CUSC, DCUSA and Grid Code. She has worked with a wide variety of energy companies, from gas and coal generators to renewables, batteries and ancillary service providers, as well as representing customers, working for non-physical traders and new market entrants.

Having worked in and with a wide variety of business Lisa has a broad experience in the corporate decision making process. Her work is commercially focused bring support to numerous generators (using a wide variety of technologies), traders, suppliers and investors.  Working as part of clients’ teams, Lisa has provided full regulatory services covering: BSC and CUSC accession; construction and connection agreements; ancillary services contracts; systems qualification and registrations; on-going interface with codes (BSC, Grid Code, CUSC, DCUSA, etc.) and National Grid; market monitoring and development of HMG policy such as the CM, CfDs, ETS, IED, etc.

As well as the BSC Panel, Lisa sits on the BSC’s TDC and the Credit Committee. She is a member of the BEIS’ Panel of Technical Experts and is on the Advisory Board of Carbon Connect, an independent policy research forum that seeks to inform the transition to a low carbon economy. Lisa has a degree in economics and a masters in environmental economics, both from University College London.



Marc Sidwell is Director of Research at The Henry Jackson Society. He has worked as a senior editor for the Telegraph and City A.M. and as publisher for the New Statesman. Marc has also written regularly for publications including Telegraph, The Critic, National Review and City A.M. He is a Senior Fellow at the New Culture Forum, and a graduate of Oxford and Warwick.






The Henry Jackson Society had the pleasure of welcoming the panellists, Dr Adnan Vatansever and Lisa Waters to discuss the launch of Dr Helena Ivanov’s paper ‘Winter is Coming: How the UK Should Respond to Russia’s Weaponisation of Energy Sources This Winter’. Helena opened the discussion by summarising the challenges and policy recommendations outlined in the report. Adnan started the discussion by focusing on Russia’s energy weaponization in the form of price discrepancies, as well as more optimistic opportunities for the coming winter. Lisa continued by pointing to the high costs of keeping energy storage open when it is usually unnecessary, overall disagreeing that drastic changes to the UK energy system are necessarily realistic or the way forward. The Panelists discussed the new North Sea licences and the possibility of change under a Labour government, as well as the need for dialogue and communication with citizens about energy-saving behaviour. The panellists closed the discussion by hoping for a warmer winter ahead.




1st August 2023
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm


United Kingdom + Google Map


Dr Helena Ivanov, Dr Adnan Vatansever, Lisa Waters


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