Russia's Latest Energy Scuffle

Fresh off their natural gas pact, Moscow and Belarus lock horns over oil, underlining Europe's reliance on shaky energy relationships

When, at two minutes before midnight on New Year's Eve, Russian and Belarusian negotiators signed a new, five-year gas supply contract for the ex-Soviet republic of Belarus, it looked like a fresh energy supply crisis for Europe had been narrowly averted. The 11th-hour agreement meant that Russia wouldn't be turning off Belarus' gas at the stroke of midnight. European customers, mindful of the previous year's gas supply disruptions caused by Russia's price dispute with Ukraine, breathed a collective sigh of relief.

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