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Serbs sell 'family silver' to Russia

Serbia surrendered its energy independence to Russia for just €400m (£295m) yesterday, by signing a deal which gives Moscow control over the Oil Industry of Serbia – the national equivalent of the "family silver" – and the right to route a major European gas pipeline through Serbian territory. Its real value is about €2bn.

Analysts said that apart from the "humiliating" price negotiated with Russia's Gazprom by the government of Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica, Serbia had been pushed into the firm political embrace of Moscow, in a sign of gratitude for its support over Kosovo. It was also a victory for the Kremlin in a "pipeline war" with the EU and its Nabucco project, which should ease Europe's dependence on Russian gas.