Russia’s attempts to wield influence in Europe through its energy exports have suffered a major setback, with the cancellation of a huge new pipeline that was intended to take Russia gas under the Black Sea to the Balkans.
President Vladimir Putin confirmed late Monday that Russia would stop work on the proposed South Stream pipeline, and instead expand an existing undersea pipeline to Turkey.
Conceived almost 10 years ago, South Stream was designed to bypass Ukraine and take gas to north-east Italy via Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and Slovenia, former Cold War allies which have all since either joined the E.U. or applied to join it. The project enjoyed substantial support in those countries, which saw it as protecting them from interruptions to supplies on the existing transit route through Ukraine.
However, South Stream ran into legal and political opposition from the E.U.: Russian gas monopoly Gazprom’s control of both the…
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