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WASHINGTON — When Gazprom, Russia’s natural-gas monopoly, cut off supplies to Ukraine and Georgia in January 2006, the move was widely seen as a clear warning of the Kremlin’s willingness to use its energy resources to exert political influence over Europe.

Twelve months later, Russia drummed home the significance of that act by shutting off oil supplies to Belarus for three days, causing a ripple effect on shipments to Western Europe.

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