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European gas rises after U.S. rejects Russia claims of pullback

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European natural gas prices increased after two days of declines as the U.S. rejected Russia’s claims that it was pulling back troops from the border with Ukraine, according to Bloomberg. 

Moscow instead added as many 7,000 military personnel to the area, senior U.S. administration officials said, without offering evidence to back up their assertion. Russia has repeatedly denied it plans to invade its neighbor.   

Global markets have swung this week with every twist and turn in the standoff between the West and Russia, affecting everything from energy and food prices to equities and currencies.

European Union leaders will discuss the tensions over Ukraine on Thursday at an emergency summit, while Group of Seven foreign ministers meet in Munich on Saturday.

Benchmark European gas futures jumped as much as 5.2%, and were 2.4% higher at 71.50 euros a megawatt-hour as of 8:35 a.m. in Amsterdam. 

Traders and European policymakers are closing watching Russian gas flows into Europe. Supplies entering Slovakia through a key route crossing Ukraine are expected to remain below normal levels on Thursday after a recent decline. Flows through the Yamal-Europe pipeline to Germany have been halted for more than eight weeks.   

Russia’s daily gas exports have rebounded this month after falling to a seven-year low in January, with European demand potentially buoyed by a drop in prices, according to Bloomberg calculations based on data from the Russian energy giant.