TO KILL SOUTH STREAM
Eastern European countries dependent on Russian gas are scrambling for alternatives after President Vladimir Putin blindsided them with a decision to scrap a pipeline bypassing Ukraine.
The prime ministers of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland met yesterday to discuss energy security after Russia on Dec. 1 backed out of the South Stream pipeline following European Union objections on legal grounds.
The move leaves much of southeastern Europe dependent on Russian gas transiting crisis-torn Ukraine, cause for concern in a region that suffered shortages in 2006 and 2009 after Russia cut off supplies to the former Soviet satellite. The region's leaders are drawing up a list of alternatives that includes a plan to access Azeri gas.
"In the 25 years since the fall of Communism we haven't diversified the gas and oil routes," Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said after the meeting in Bratislava, Slovakia. "This is a huge strategic mistake, not only for Hungary but for the entire EU."
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