Pavel Golovkin / REUTERS

Russia's Middle East Energy Diplomacy

How the Kremlin Strengthened Its Position in the Region

When the United States and the European Union decided, in March 2014, to impose sanctions against Russia in the wake of the Ukraine crisis, they attempted to target a key proxy of Russian geopolitical influence: its energy sector. Part of the sanctions’ sting came from complicating Russian energy project finance deals and increasing the level of risk attached to Russian debt. In response, the Kremlin attempted to build new energy-financing channels and export markets. Its first inclination was to turn to the fast-growing energy consumers in Asia, with a particular focus on China. In addition to negotiating a May 2014 deal for Russia’…

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