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How European Agencies Bankrolled Pre-War Russian Gas Expansion

Germany, Italy and France guaranteed billions for oil-and-gas expansion in the seven years since Russia annexed Crimea.

A booster gas compressor station in the Lensk district of the Sakha Republic, Russia.

A booster gas compressor station in the Lensk district of the Sakha Republic, Russia.

Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

Through their little-known trade finance agencies, Germany, Italy and France have been among the biggest backers of Russian oil, gas and petrochemical development in the last several years, helping to enrich and insulate the country as it prepared to invade Ukraine.

Since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 through late 2021, German, Italian and French export-credit agencies guaranteed almost $13 billion in financing for projects in Russia, according to exclusive data compiled by the Global Strategic Communications Council, a nonprofit, worldwide network of climate experts. German and Italian state-owned banks lent a further $425 million.