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Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Pakistani PM Shehbaz Sharif during a meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

Sputnik/Alexandr Demyanchuk/Pool via REUTERS

Russia and Pakistan might cut unprecedented oil deal

Cold War rivals Russia and Pakistan are negotiating an agreement for the Russians to start selling cheap oil to energy-starved Pakistan in March.

This will make Islamabad yet another Asian customer of Russian crude at a time when Moscow’s cash inflows are limited by a G7/EU oil cap and sanctions. Also, considering Pakistan is dead broke, payments might be made through a “friendly” country, presumably China – a power play for Beijing, whose yuan will be used for the transactions, giving the currency more sway as an alternative to the US dollar.

How is this deal going to affect American interests in the region? And why is Pakistan, which wants to balance its ties with Washington, giving business to the Russians perhaps through China?

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