US Struggles To Counter Russia’s Energy Hold Over Europe

WASHINGTON — Russia now supplies some 25 percent of Europe’s oil and half its natural gas.

Some in Congress are worried that Moscow’s real motive in the Georgia campaign may be to blunt Western control of a pipeline carrying oil from other Asian countries to a Turkish port that bypasses Russian control.

The fear is that Russia’s domination in European energy could bring cold, dark winters if Moscow closes the valves for NATO members.

It’s already used oil as a political weapon: Russia reduced its supply to the Czech Republic after it agreed to host a radar base for a missile system that Russia opposes.

Turkmenistan, Khazakhstan and Azerbaijan are wary of Russia, and want signs from the West that it’s serious about building more pipelines before making moves that would anger Moscow.