US enforces economic blockade of russian oil

The United States, wading into the international efforts to shape Greece’s economic and geopolitical orientation, is pushing the leftist government in Athens to resist Russia’s energy overtures.
A State Department envoy in Athens on Friday planned to urge Greece to embrace a Western-backed project that would link Europe to natural gas supplies in Azerbaijan, rather than agree to a gas pipeline project pushed by Moscow.
The dueling sales pitches, reminiscent of a Cold War struggle, come as the debt-burdened Greece is desperate for new sources of revenue of the sort that a gas pipeline could bring.
In an interview in Athens on Friday before a meeting with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, the State Department envoy, Amos J. Hochstein, said that Greece would increase its appeal to Western investors and would help reduce the Europe Union’s dependence on Russian gas supplies if it declined to host gas from a pipeline proposed by the Russian state-controlled energy giant Gazprom.
Washington’s push against the Russian pipeline project follows a stalemate in negotiations between Greece and its international creditors aimed at unlocking further loans. Even as Greece’s European neighbors are focused on Athens’s ability to repay its debts, the United States is intent on addressing Greece’s geopolitical value as a NATO outpost at the southern tip of the Balkans and as an important gateway for energy from Central Asia.
Mr. Hochstein said Moscow’s interests were not aligned with Greece’s financial needs. The Russian pipeline plan, he said in the interview, “is not an economic project” but “only about politics.”

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