Gazprom is suspected of inflating prices and imposing unfair restrictions on gas distribution within Europe, which is heavily reliant on Russian natural gas. As recently as last winter, Russia and the European Union's competition commissioner, Joaquín Almunia, seemed on the verge of settling. But now the case appears to be languishing. And people close to the inquiry are uncertain whether it will be revived before the autumn, when Mr. Almunia is scheduled to leave office.

While that prospect is disappointing to small European Union countries like Lithuania that are particularly dependent on Gazprom for their energy needs, the lost momentum of the antitrust case seems to underscore a reality: So far the sanctions war may be more about symbolic actions than imposing far-reaching economic pain on either side.

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