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(YAHOO) – Russia’s state-controlled Gazprom PJSC suspended natural gas deliveries to Italy in an apparent scuffle over regulation in Austria, escalating the energy crisis in Europe.
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The cutoff appeared to target just Italy, which gets Gazprom’s supplies from a pipeline that passes through Austria. Higher volumes of Russian gas were allocated to Vienna-based OMV AG than recently, said Andreas Rinofner, a spokesman for OMV, which imports Russian gas to Austria.
Although Italy has been weaning itself off Russian gas, Saturday’s development highlights how vulnerable European countries are to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s repeated moves to choke off energy to the continent. The standoff intensified this week after massive leaks erupted in a key pipeline to Europe that some nations blamed on sabotage.
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