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Last year, the Grand Aniva, a Russian tanker with four spherical tanks for holding ultracold liquefied natural gas, sailed back and forth between a gas field in eastern Russia and depots in Japan and Taiwan. But two days after Russia invaded Ukraine, the ship switched routes, sailing to China instead.

The voyages of the tanker, which is as long as three football fields, underlined that Russian President Vladimir Putin can still find buyers in Asia for his country’s fossil fuel exports despite Western sanctions. He needs to look for buyers as governments exact more pressure on his country to try to stop its war in Ukraine, including an expected move in the next several days by the European Union to gradually halt imports of Russian oil.

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