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Putin Expected to Sign China Gas Deal as Crisis Forces Hand

Vladimir Putin is more likely to sign a 30-year deal to supply pipeline gas to China next month after more than a decade of false starts because the crisis in Ukraine is forcing Russia to look for markets outside Europe.

While Putin and President Xi Jinping will make the final decision in Beijing next month, Russia’s need for new customers means it’s pushing to complete a deal first mooted in 1997, a manager at gas-export monopoly OAO Gazprom and a government official said, asking not to be named because talks are ongoing. In China yesterday, Russia’s deputy prime minister said he “hoped” a deal would be signed in May.