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Recently, Gazprom’s top management stated that “Gazprom can unfreeze South Stream promptly” (tass.ru), following earlier Putin comments that “South Stream is not definitely canceled” (reuters.com) – contrasting earlier statements that the project is “closed forever”. Despite the latest thaw in relations between Russia and Turkey, South Stream apparently still is a preferable option for Gazprom as compared to Turkish Stream, which also appears to be buried, at least for a while. By building a pipeline directly reaching EU territory, Moscow will escape a problematic intermediary which Turkey has always been (a factor that had essentially brought down negotiations on Turkish Stream even before the conflict between Moscow and Ankara of the last fall). New statements on South Stream were accompanied by repeated assurances by some of the West Balkan states