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How Europe became so dependent on Putin for gas

Pipes labelled 'gas' in the yard of the Comprehensive Gas Treatment Unit No.3 at the Gazprom Chayandinskoye oil, gas and condensate field in the Lensk district of the Sakha Republic, Russia, on Oct. 11, 2021. Foto: Bloomberg photo by Andrey Rudakov.

Europe's relations with Russia are close to their lowest point in decades. Yet now President Vladimir Putin's willingness to open the spigot on Russia's copious natural gas -- or not -- may be what determines how cold many Europeans get this winter. That's despite the European Union's vow a decade ago to reduce its dependence on Russian energy, to avoid this kind of vulnerability. It's been a contentious issue within the economic bloc and has caused rifts with the United States. Now Putin is dangling the possibility of a surge in gas exports, but possibly with strings attached.

1. How vulnerable is Europe?..

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