More than 100,000 Europeans could die from high energy prices this winter, according to a new study by The Economist magazine.
The study found that, if energy prices remain around their current high levels and if temperatures this winter remain typical compared to previous years, 147,000 more people will die over the coming winter months from cold-related illness or diseases than if electricity costs remained at the 2015-2019 average.
The magazine's modelling also predicted, however, that Europe's death toll could be significantly worse if this coming winter is colder compared to previous years. In particular, it estimated that, if each country were to experience its coldest winter since 2000, this figure would rise to 185,000 deaths.
Indeed, the study found that even relatively mild winter temperatures will still be fatal to tens of thousands of Europeans: even if each European country experiences its warmest winter over the past twenty years, 79,000 Europeans will still die as a result of high energy costs.
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Europe's high energy prices were triggered by Russia's invasion of Ukraine and subsequent Western sanctions imposed upon Russia. They have been exacerbated by the US's decision to charge (what are perceived by European leaders to be) unfairly high prices for its liquefied natural gas.
"The United States is a producer of cheap gas that they are selling us at a high price," French President Emmanuel Macron recently said. "I don't think that's friendly."
The figures cited by The Economist dwarf that of the 120,000 Ukrainians the EU believes have died in the conflict in Ukraine so far. In a since-deleted video, European Commission President recently claimed that "it is estimated that 20,000 civilians and more than 100,000 Ukrainian military officers have been killed [during the war] so far".
"[Russian President Vladimir] Putin's energy weapon could take more lives outside Ukraine than his artillery, missiles and drones do directly within it," The Economist concluded in its weekly editorial. "This is one more reason why Ukraine's resistance to Russia is Europe's fight, too."