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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Russian oil supplies to Czech Republic cut after missile defence deal with US - Telegraph

Russian cut oil supplies to the Czech Republic have been cut by half, just days after the United States signed an agreement to build a missile shield radar station on Czech territory.

Moscow insisted that the cut was nothing to do with a US deal and that negotiations between suppliers were to blame for the hold up.
However, the Czech prime minister Mirek Topolanek appeared to remain sceptical over official explanations.
"I want to believe that reasons which the Russian supplier states are only technical," he said.
Russia's cut in oil supplies coincided exactly with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's visit to sign the radar base deal last Tuesday.
As the ink dried on that agreement, which will provide radar control for a US silo of interceptor missiles due to be based in Poland, oil flow through the Druzhba ­ Friendship - pipeline began to ebb.
Two days later, Prague was forced to protest after Russia threatened a "military response" to the deal ­ interpreted as retargeting and redeployment of its own missile arsenal.
The Czech defence ministry railed against Russia's "continued excessive rhetoric perceived in the Czech Republic as an interference with internal political affairs".
Business leaders in the Czech Republic, which sources 70 percent of its oil from Russian deliveries, were reported to be unsettled after the oil cuts, fearing a prolonged energy war with Russia.
But Mr Topolanek, said that the energy cuts posed "no threat for the citizens" because of his country's reserves, and its ability to source more oil from a western European pipeline.
America has long insisted that the missile shield, though based in Eastern Europe, is directed at 'rogue states' such as Iran, and is designed to intercept lone long range, potentially nuclear-tipped rockets fired at the US.
But Russia has consistently viewed the project as a strategic threat which upsets the balance of power on the continent.

Russian oil supplies to Czech Republic cut after missile defence deal with US - Telegraph

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