Russia Analytical Report, Nov. 21-28, 2022: 6 Ideas to Explore

File Photo of Red Square, Kremlin, Environs, adapted from image at state.gov

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Nov. 28, 2022) Key U.S. officials have begun to wonder whether “the U.S. has already reaped all the advantages the Ukraine war has to offer,” according to Hal Brands of Johns Hopkins University. “As time passes, the cost may get higher [for the U.S.]—in distraction from other regions, in scarce munitions consumed, in vulnerability to […]

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Russia vs. Europe: Who Is Winning the Energy War?

Gas Flame file photo

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Li-Chen Sim – Nov. 23, 2022) Li-Chen Sim is an assistant professor at Khalifa University in the United Arab Emirates and a non-resident scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C. One of Vladimir Lenin’s most enduring phrases regarding political power has been “kto kogo?”1 — “who [will beat] whom?” This same question is […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Europe accuses U.S. of profiting from war; EU officials attack Joe Biden over sky-high gas prices, weapons sales and trade as Vladimir Putin’s war threatens to destroy Western unity.” – Politico

File Photo of Joe Biden at Podium in Front of U.S. and State Department Flags, adapted from image at usembassy.gov

“… Top European officials are furious with Joe Biden’s administration … accus[ing] … Americans of making a fortune from the war, while EU countries suffer. … The biggest point of tension [recently]… has been Biden’s green subsidies and taxes that Brussels says unfairly tilt trade away from the EU and threaten to destroy European industries. Despite formal [European] objections … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Zelenskyy vows Ukraine will withstand Russian attacks on power networks; ‘We must return all lands,’ Ukrainian president tells the FT” – Financial Times

Screenshot file photo of Volodymyr Zelensky Gesturing, from Congressional Teleconference, adapted from image at doggett.house.gov

“… Zelenskyy said Russia’s new strategy to destroy Ukraine’s infrastructure … would not weaken the country’s resolve to liberate all occupied land, describing the conflict as a ‘war of strength and resilience.’ … insist[ing] there would be no lasting resolution to the war unless Russia withdrew from all [Russian-occupied] territories …. Kyiv has been pushing back at perceived pressure to […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “High fuel prices could kill more Europeans than fighting in Ukraine” – The Economist

Map of Europe, adapted from image at loc.gov

“Russia is using energy as a weapon. How deadly will it be?” “To win … in Ukraine … Putin needs the West to stop supporting his adversary. His best opportunity to drive a wedge between them will arrive this winter. … In August [] Putin turned off … a big pipeline to Europe. Fuel prices surged, squeezing the economies of […]

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Russia Has Lost Over 90% Of Its European Oil Market Share

Oil Well file photo

(oilprice.com – Josh Owens – Nov. 21, 2022) Russia has already lost over 90% of its previous top European market—northern Europe—as shipments have slumped to below 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) in recent weeks from more than 1.2 million bpd before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to Bloomberg’s estimates. The EU embargo on seaborne imports of Russian crude oil […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Cold and dark: Kyiv readies for ‘worst winter of our lives’” – AP

Power Plant Transformers Outdoors, adapted from image at energy.gov

“… The situation in Ukraine’s … major cities has deteriorated drastically following the largest missile attack on the country’s power grid on Tuesday. … Ukrenergo reported that 40% of Ukrainians were experiencing difficulties, due to damage to at least 15 major energy hubs …. [w]arning that electricity outages could last anywhere from several hours to several days …. Blackouts were […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine tells allies it may not be able to recover from more Russian attacks on energy systems” – Politico 11.16.22

Power Plant Transformers Outdoors, adapted from image at energy.gov

“Ukrainian officials are asking the U.S. and Europe for parts to fix its electric grid and gas systems.” “… Ukrainian officials have … asked … American counterparts and more than half a dozen European countries for assistance preparing for a prolonged period with limited electricity and gas …. Ukraine needs key components like generators, pipes and valves to repair … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia maintains grip on global nuclear energy landscape” – Financial Times

File Image of Radioactive Atom, adapted from image at lanl.gov

“Increasing use of atomic power would not necessarily free economies from Moscow’s influence.” “Faced with a global energy crisis and a race to slash emissions, advanced economies are starting to reconsider nuclear power after … declining investment. … But an atomic shift does not necessarily free a country from energy dependence on Russia, given the scale of the country’s presence […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Can Ukraine Survive the Winter? What the Country Needs to Hold Out” – Foreign Affairs

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

“… Russia has repeatedly targeted civilian infrastructure …. successfully attack[ing] 40 percent of Ukraine’s power grids with … missiles and Iranian drones. … bomb[ing] energy facilities, including hydroelectric dams, leaving more than one million Ukrainians without electricity. In Kyiv, [reportedly] 80 percent of residents are without water …. Economists project … Kyiv’s economy will shrink by at least 35 percent […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Sabotage at sea; Vladimir Putin says the world’s energy infrastructure is ‘at risk'” – The Economist

Gas Flame file photo

“He would know. And internet infrastructure is vulnerable too.” “On October 12th … Putin … gave an ominous warning. Energy infrastructure around the world was now ‘at risk,’ he said. … a month after explosions tore through Nord Stream 1 and 2 …. Russia denies responsibility  …. But few doubt … the Kremlin did it. …. The attacks occurred just […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The uncomfortable need to talk about diplomacy with Russia” – Washington Post

European Portion of Commonwealth of Independent States

“The United States and … European partners continue to provide military aid and arms to Kyiv in the hope that Ukraine can press its current advantage, reclaim territories seized by Russia over the past eight months and, at the very least, win itself a stronger hand whenever the warring parties do attempt meaningful negotiations. The Kremlin … has responded to […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Oil Exports Helping Cushion Russian Economy – IMF” – Moscow Times

Oil Wells file photo, adapted from image at usda.gov

(Moscow Times – Oct. 11, 2022) Russia’s recession will be less severe than expected due to oil exports and relatively stable domestic demand, according to the latest International Monetary Fund forecasts released on Tuesday. While the IMF estimates Russia’s economy to have contracted by 21.8% during the second quarter at a quarterly annualized rate, for the year as a whole […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Putin Says ‘Ball in EU’s Court’ on Restarting Nord Stream Deliveries” – Moscow Times

Gas Flame file photo

(Moscow Times – Oct. 12, 2022) Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday said his country was a reliable energy supplier and blamed the West for disruptions on the market at an energy forum in Moscow. After the Nord Stream pipelines connecting Russia to Europe were damaged by explosions, Putin said “the ball was in the EU’s court” to resume deliveries. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Confounds the West by Recapturing Its Oil Riches” – WSJ

Oil Wells file photo, adapted from image at usda.gov

“Moscow is raking in more revenue than ever with the help of new buyers, new traders and the world’s seemingly insatiable demand for crude.” “Russia pumps almost as much oil into the global market as … before its invasion of Ukraine. With oil prices up, Moscow is also making more money. Demand from some of the world’s largest economies has […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Sanctions are working – whatever Putin says” – The Spectator

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“Don’t believe … Putin’s hype. The Russian economy is not OK. With western sanctions jeopardising up to 40 per cent of the country’s GDP, Putin’s assurances of an economic pivot to the East are a sham. And his weaponising of gas supplies to Europe is the financial equivalent of strapping on a suicide vest. That, roughly, is the message of […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Western sanctions have had ‘limited impact’ on Russian oil output, says IEA” – Financial Times

Oil Wells file photo, adapted from image at usda.gov

“Rerouting of Moscow’s crude to India, China and Turkey has helped offset curbs elsewhere.” “… Moscow’s exports of crude and oil products to Europe, the U.S., Japan and Korea had fallen by nearly 2.2mn barrels a day since its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the [International Energy Agency] said. But the rerouting of flows to countries including India, China and Turkey […]

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VIDEO: JRL NEWSWATCH: “How is that Kremlin bank account looking?” – Fox

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“Imported items including i-phones are still available.” “… ‘We’ve had some figures for the first half of 2022 released …’ Peter Mironenko of ‘The Bell’ tells Fox …. ‘… On the one hand … in the second quarter[] GDP fell around 4% and in the third quarter we will have about 7%. This is recession. But the scale is much […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Gerhard Schröder says Russia wants negotiated end to Ukraine war” – Financial Times

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

“German ex-chancellor stepped down as chair of Rosneft but defends friendship with Vladimir Putin” “Germany’s former chancellor Gerhard Schröder has said after he visited … Putin in Moscow last week that the Kremlin is open to talks to end the war in Ukraine. … Schröder has been harshly criticised in recent months over his refusal to distance himself from Putin, […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Is Making Heaps of Money From Oil, but There Is a Way to Stop That” – New York Times

Oil Well file photo

“… Nations seeking to help Ukraine are aiming at the wrong target. … Russia’s energy exports instead of … Russia’s earnings from energy exports. Russia is exporting less oil but … [reportedly] earning more money …. [S]anctions have raised prices … offsetting … declin[ing] … exports. In May 2022, Russia earned 883 million euros per day from oil exports, up […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S., Europe Dig In for Long Economic Standoff With Russia” – WSJ

“After Moscow cuts gas flows again on Nord Stream, Washington and Brussels bet on longer-term effects of sanctions.” “Western governments are bracing for a protracted economic confrontation with Russia over … Ukraine, as Moscow fights back against … sanctions by disrupting energy and food supplies. On Wednesday, Russia cut natural gas … on the crucial Nord Stream pipeline to Germany […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine’s State Energy Firm Nears Default” – WSJ

Gas Flame file photo

“Naftogaz is seeking government approval to make payments by the end of Tuesday.” “Ukraine’s NJSC Naftogaz was hours away from default after lenders rejected its request to delay payments on more than $1.4 billion of foreign-currency bonds. … [T]he state energy company was seeking [Ukrainian government] approval … to repay … a $335 million note that matured last week. … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia needs economic ‘perestroika’ to end reliance on energy exports – cenbank chief” – Reuters

Oil Wells file photo, adapted from image at usda.gov

“Russia must reduce its decades-old reliance on exports of raw materials and stimulate private enterprise to avoid slipping back towards a Soviet-style technological lag with the West, … [Russian] central bank [governor Nabiullina] said …. After the West imposed the most crippling sanctions in modern history to punish … Putin for the war in Ukraine, Russia’s economy is facing its […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine’s State Energy Company Keeps Russian Gas Flowing as War Rages” – WSJ

Gas Flame file photo

“An uneasy alliance between Ukraine’s Naftogaz and its Russian counterpart sustains gas supply to Europe and fills government coffers on both sides of the fighting.” “Even as Russian rockets have peppered its facilities, Ukraine’s biggest state company has done hundreds of millions of dollars in energy business with Moscow. .. [T]he uneasy commercial truce … show[s] signs of collapse, threatening […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “How the EU’s ban on Russian oil will rock global markets” – Financial Times

Oil Wells File Photo

“Refiners will face fierce competition to secure supplies as Brussels imposes sanctions on seaborne exports.” “… [T]he EU’s 27 member states agreed to ban seaborne Russian oil imports. To placate landlocked countries such as Hungary, pipeline shipments will continue for now. … Germany’s and Poland’s willingness to taper … pipeline purchases by 2022’s close should, combined with the seaborne ban, […]

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Why Russia’s Economy Hasn’t Collapsed Under The Weight Of Sanctions

Oil Well file photo

(Oilprice.com – Josh Owens – May 18, 2022) Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. and its allies implemented a set of unprecedented sanctions designed to destroy the Russian economy. The ruble crashed by nearly 50% against the dollar when the sanctions were first implemented but it has since bounced back to pre-war levels. A combination of energy exports, sanctions […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Oil and gas revenues give Russia’s economy $3.4bn cushion” – Financial Times

Oil Wells file photo, adapted from image at usda.gov

“Yet Moscow downgraded to ‘selective default’ by S&P as it warns country is unlikely to honour foreign debt terms.” “Russia has boosted the fund that cushions its sanctions-hit economy with $3.4bn in additional oil and gas revenues thanks to rising energy prices since the start of its war with Ukraine, as it edges closer to its first debt default since […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Putin Orders Europe to Pay Rubles for Russian Gas” – Moscow Times

Gas Flame file photo

Move is seen as a bid to get Europe to roll back heavy sanctions on Moscow. (Moscow Times – March 23, 2022) Russia will force Europe to start paying for gas supplies in rubles, President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday in televised remarks. “I have decided to implement a set of measures to transfer payments for our gas supplies to unfriendly […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Dallas Fed Warns Cutoff of Russian Energy Could Cause Global Recession” – WSJ

Oil Wells file photo, adapted from image at usda.gov

“Downturn appears ‘unavoidable’ if bulk of Russian oil and gas products are off the world markets for the rest of the year, according to a report by the regional Fed bank.” “A sustained halt in Russian energy exports could have a dire effect on the global economy, a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas said on Tuesday. ‘If […]

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Background Press Call by a Senior Administration Official on Russia Sanctions

Portion of U.S. Treasury Department Building Facade, North Side, with Sculpture of Alexander Hamilton

(The White House – Feb. 22, 2022 – whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/press-briefings/2022/02/22/background-press-call-by-a-senior-administration-official-on-russia-sanctions/) MODERATOR: Thank you. And thanks, everyone, for joining today. So, as a reminder, this call is on background, attributable to a “senior administration official,” and the contents of this call are embargoed until the end of the call. For your awareness but not for reporting, the speaker on the call is […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Standoff Prompts Europe to Enlist U.S. Help Securing Gas” – WSJ

Gas Flame file photo

“With over 40% of the EU’s natural gas supplies under Moscow’s control, officials are scouring the globe for ship loads to redirect.” “… U.S. and European officials are racing to find short-term alternatives to refill depleted [European gas] reserves. More than two-dozen tankers are en route from the U.S. to Europe, lured by high [EU] gas prices …. Another 33 […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Energy Dependence Ties Europe’s Hands in U.S.-Russia Crisis” – WSJ

Gas Flame file photo

“Europe gets almost one-third of its natural gas from Russia, limiting its ability to penalize Moscow.” Europe’s growing dependence on Russian gas and oil is limiting [European] room to maneuver … and making [Europe] highly vulnerable … [if] escalation [occurs in the crisis with Russia]. … Western officials accuse [Russia] of withholding extra supplies in recent months to force European […]

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Fact-Check: Is Russia’s Economy ‘Nuclear Weapons and Oil Wells and Nothing Else,’ as Biden Claimed?

Oil Wells file photo, adapted from image at usda.gov

(Russia Matters – RM Staff – russiamatters.org – Dec. 28, 2021) Incorrect: While hydrocarbons play an outsized role in Moscow’s federal budget and its nuclear weapons may figure in GDP, Russia’s economy is more diverse than that, with oil and gas making up just over 15% of last year’s GDP by one Rosstat estimate. Russia provides other countries with more […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Kremlin penetrates deeper into online world of Russians” – Financial Times

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

“Pressure grows on foreign social media platforms after state-run group’s takeover of Russia’s Facebook.” “The takeover … of VKontakte … by companies tied to … Gazprom has the feel of a final act in a long saga of creeping state control over the company. … [T]he Facebook lookalike’s trajectory has mirrored … the Russian internet … from the freewheeling Ru-net […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Expels Some U.S. Diplomats in Latest Tit-for-Tat Action” – WSJ

File Photo of U.S. Embassy Moscow, with Russian Foreign Ministry Building in Distance

“Russia indicates that the move was in retaliation for Washington’s expulsion of more than 50 Russian diplomats.” “Russia ordered U.S. Embassy staff … in Moscow for more than three years to leave the country by Jan. 31 … [even as] diplomats [will soon] hold talks to address the worsening [U.S.-Russian] relationship …. Foreign ministry officials … indicated that the decision […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia’s Gazprom Reports Record Profits as Gas Prices Soar” – Moscow Times

Gas Facility file photo

Europe receives a third of its gas supplies from Russia and has seen energy prices surge to record highs in recent months. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Nov. 29, 2021) Russian gas giant Gazprom on Monday said its net income rose to a record 582 billion rubles ($7.8 billion) in the third quarter on the back of soaring gas prices […]

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The Real Reason Russia Isn’t Pumping More Gas

Gas Facility file photo

(Oilprice.com – Alex Kimani – Nov. 15, 2021) While plenty of traders have accused Russia of withholding natural gas from Europe, it is now looking like the natural gas giant simply cannot significantly increase exports Natural gas prices originally fell when Putin promised to open the taps, but prices are climbing again now that Russia is failing to book additional […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Kremlin sees no political motivation behind German regulator’s decision to suspend Nord Stream 2 certification” – Interfax

Dmitry Peskov file photo adapted from image at kremlin.ru/wikimedia commons

MOSCOW. Nov 17 (Interfax) – The Kremlin does not see a political motive behind the German regulator’s decision to suspend certification of Nord Stream 2 until the establishment of a subsidiary of Nord Stream 2 AG to operate the national part of the gas pipeline, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. “Absolutely not,” Peskov told reporters in response to the relevant […]

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Kremlin Lashes Out At West, Defends Troop Movements, As It Boosts Role In Belarus-EU Border Crisis

Map of Belarus and Environs, adapted from images at cia.gov

The Kremlin has vowed to safeguard its borders in the face of actions by countries it accused of trying to “contain” Russia and sought to walk back a Belarusian threat of a cutoff of Russian natural gas to Western markets […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Lukashenko threatens to cut gas supplies to Yamal-Europe gas pipeline if EU imposes new sanctions, promises to send refugees dry firewood” – bne Intellinews

Alyaksandr Lukeshenko file photo, adapted from image at usembassy.gov

“… Lukashenko has threatened to cut off [Belarusian] gas transit to Europe  … shutting down the Yamal-Europe pipeline if the EU imposes new sanctions …. The Yamal-Europe pipeline is part of the northern route that also includes … Nord Stream 1 and 2 … and transits gas from Russia’s Arctic Yamal fields via Belarus to Poland and on to Germany. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia increases gas flows to Europe, pushing down prices” – Reuters

Gas Flame file photo

“… On Tuesday, Russia[‘s] Gazprom … said it had started to refill its European gas storage. … push[ing] down spot prices in the region although analysts said Moscow would have to do more to ease concerns in Europe to lead to a more significant drop in prices. … Gas prices have risen this year because of factors including low gas […]

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Europe Considers Tapping “Cushion Gas” As Market Continues To Tighten

Gas Flame file photo

(Oilprice.com – Tsvetana Paraskova – Nov. 7, 2021) Europe is experiencing the lowest level of gas in storage in a decade just ahead of the winter sent natural gas prices spiking to record highs last month The very tight European gas market may find relief from the supply crunch if it taps part of the so-called cushion gas. Increased Russian […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Why Russian exports hold sway over European and British gas prices” – Reuters/ Susanna Twidale

EU Map adapted from cia.gov image

“Benchmark European gas prices jumped 15% … after a major pipeline … from Russia began sending flows eastwards. … Europe relies on Russia for around 35% of its natural gas[,] [t]he bulk … through pipelines including Yamal … through Belarus and Poland to Germany, Nord Stream … to Germany, and pipelines … through Ukraine. … Last year [Russian] gas exports […]

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