With Russian President Vladimir Putin having overplayed his hand trying to use Gazprom to bring Europe to its knees, his efforts to bolster the state-controlled gas giant are now at the mercy of China.

After years focusing Gazprom’s exports on pipelines to Europe and underinvesting in liquefied natural gas capacity, Putin has limited options for the national champion, and that is likely to be evident when he meets his counterpart Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing next week.

The Kremlin is keen for fresh export deals to shore up Gazprom’s international presence, which suffered after Putin failed to cow Ukraine’s allies in Europe with threats of freezing homes. China is the biggest foreign market available but won’t be a one-for-one replacement.