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Energy Dependence Ties Europe’s Hands in U.S.-Russia Crisis

Europe gets almost one-third of its natural gas from Russia, limiting its ability to penalize Moscow

Russia has been a major energy supplier to Europe since Soviet times, taking care not to wield oil and gas as a weapon. Back then, Moscow largely saw energy, a key export, as a business proposition and a way to develop commercial and pragmatic relations with Europe. That has changed over the years as relations with the West soured. Russia twice curtailed gas deliveries to Europe during the cold winters of 2006 and 2009 over price disputes with Ukraine.

“Russia in the 2000s decided to use gas as a geopolitical weapon,” Tatiana Stanovaya, founder of R.Politik, an independent political-analysis firm. “Moscow failed to convince the world that it was a pure business argument and damaged its reputation as a stable supplier.”

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