This meeting focused on Europe’s increasingly troubled energy relationship with Russia, with particular emphasis on Northern Europe. Against the backdrop of the Ukrainian gas crisis and renewed pledges on the Nord Stream gas pipeline project, participants assessed Russia's influence in European energy markets and the critical interplay between Russia's economic downturn and energy export policies, as well as the attendant implications for the transatlantic relationship. Participants included Pekka Sutela, Head of the Bank of Finland's Institute for Economies in Transition; Anders Åslund, Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics; Jaroslav Kurfürst, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of the Czech Republic; Dr. Phyllis Yoshida, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Energy Cooperation, U.S. Department of Energy; Tomas Gulbinas, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania and J. Robinson West, Chairman, Founder and CEO, PFC Energy. Ambassador C. Boyden Gray, former U.S. Special Envoy for European Union Affairs and Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy presented keynote luncheon remarks.

The geopolitical significance continues emerging more and more strongly in the imbroglio about getting Russian gas to Europe – via the pipelines that cross Ukraine.

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The Russian shut-off of natural gas supplies to Ukraine (and now to Western Europe) is described by Moscow as a commercial dispute with Kiev about the pricing and debts of Russian energy exports to Ukraine.

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Robert E. HunterSince the Russian Federation sent tanks, troops, and planes slicing into Georgia, commentators have reached for a variety of historic parallels. 1968 and the Soviet Union snuffs out Prague Spring. 1939 and the Nazis thrust into Poland. 1938 and the Czechoslovaks are sacrificed to the unwillingness of democracies to confront evil. None of these supposed parallels catches the current situation. A better – but still imperfect – parallel is 1914, when an assassination in a remote corner of the world set larger and destructive events in motion. The trigger-event with outsize results this time was Georgia’s attempt with military force to reoccupy South Ossetia.

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At the time of the NATO intervention in Kosovo in 1999, the premise of Western governments was that confronting ethnic cleansing was more important than respecting the international borders.

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