Workers look at a drilling rig at a well pad of the Rosneft owned Prirazlomnoye oil field outside Nefteyugansk, Russia, August 4, 2016. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin
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Russia, the only major power that has not called on Iraq's Kurds to cancel a referendum on independence next week, has swiftly become the top funder of Kurdish oil and gas deals, with as much as $4 billion pledged in less than a year, industry sources say. Washington, European countries, Turkey and Iran have all lined up to oppose a move by Iraq's Kurds to hold a Sept. 25 independence referendum, which the Kurds consider the culmination of decades of struggle for a state of their own, but Iraq calls a violation of its constitution.The 35 million Kurds are spread over Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria.According to a diplomatic source, the Kurds took notice in June when Lavrov signaled to a Kurdish delegation in St. Petersburg that Russia would not oppose the referendum.Days later, the Kurds announced the date of their referendum.The Russian firm loaned the Kurds around $280 million, guaranteed by future oil sales, according to industry sources.Russia became the Kurds' single biggest financer with its next deal in June this year to lend money and help search for more oil, bringing its total investments close to $2.8 billion.
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