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Europe’s Gas Habit Is Paying for Putin’s War

Foreign currency exchange rates to the Russian ruble at an exchange bureau in Moscow on Feb. 28.

Foreign currency exchange rates to the Russian ruble at an exchange bureau in Moscow on Feb. 28.

Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

To understand how Vladimir Putin pays for his war machine, look no further than Europe.

While European nations, along with the U.S. and others, have slapped stiff economic sanctions on Moscow since its troops rolled into Ukraine in late February, their dependence on Russian oil, gas and coal supplies provides Moscow with a vital financial lifeline — one that dwarfs military aid to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s administration in Kyiv.