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Russia

Gazprom, The Latest Stage For EU-Russia Hostility

As the European Commission targets Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom for antitrust violations, tensions between Europe and Russia over Ukraine are only bound to rise.

Gazprom pipeline
Gazprom pipeline
Markus Balser

MUNICH — It is highly unlikely that Russia's government will leave the European Commission's antitrust attack upon state-owned energy giant Gazprom unanswered. The company's vast domestic and international influence — a far-reaching network of more than 400,000 employees, 160,000 kilometers of pipeline, and some 1,000 subsidiaries with a combined turnover of more than 100 billion euros — is simply too vital to Moscow's interest for the Kremlin to not rush to its defense.

After taking on Google, this is now the second time in two weeks that Brussels is going up against an internationally dominant company. And by doing so, it will probably increase tensions between the EU and Russia over the simmering conflict in Ukraine. After more than two-and-a-half years of investigation, EU Competition Commission inspector Margrethe Vestager announced last week that it's pursuing a case against Gazprom, accusing the energy giant with cozy ties to the Kremlin of violating fair-competition laws. The company could face a fine of up to 10% of its annual revenue.

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War In Ukraine, Day 90: Three Months Since The Start Of A War That’s Changed The World

Vladimir Putin had planned to roll through Ukraine and splinter the West. While it has not gone according to plan, the destruction and uncertainty left in the path of the invasion has shaken the world.

A soldier of special forces of Ukraine displays his tattoos

Anna Akage and Emma Albright

Few will forget waking up to the news that Thursday morning in February. It was, exactly three months ago, in the pre-dawn hours of Feb. 24, when Vladimir Putin sent his armies, missiles and fighter jets across Ukraine’s borders, from points north and east, launching a full-scale invasion of a sovereign nation of 44 million.

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It has, by all accounts, not gone as Putin had planned: the Ukrainian military resisting the much larger, better-equipped Russian invaders; the West unified in its support of Kyiv, through arms shipments and harsh sanctions against Moscow; steadily rising opposition at home.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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