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Western conflict with Russia could seal China gas supply deal

Western threats against Russian energy give China the perfect chance to seal a long-term gas supply deal on good terms

As Moscow and the West face off over the crisis in Ukraine, Russia has shown no qualms brandishing what it sees as its most potent weapon in the dispute: natural gas. Gazprom chief executive Alexei Miller on 7 March threatened to halt supplies to Ukraine if the country didn't settle its $1.9 billion debt and start paying for supplies flowing into the country by 1 April. He warned of "a return to the situation at the start of 2009", when supplies were cut off to Ukraine and as a result much of Europe. Yet Russia's gas weapon is not as potent as it might seem, largely because Gazprom's failure over the past decade to break into Asia's booming markets has left Russia almost completely reliant

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