Vladimir Putin is planning to limit Europe’s gas supply by disrupting the pipelines that supply it.

Intelligence sources have warned that the deranged dictator may now be planning on training troops from Armenia in how to sabotage pipelines in its rival, Azerbaijan.

Putin is thought to have now sanctioned the training operation, according to electronic communications intercepted by NATO.

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At the recent Munich Sec­­urity Conference top brass from NATO nations are understood to have discussed the plan amid concerns over it becoming reality.

Since the EU distanced itself from Russia's gas supplies it has become increasingly reliant on the supply through Azerbaijan and so the stakes are high – but while EU leaders know this, so does Putin.

Russia is now thought to supply less than 20% of the natural gas consumed in Europe and this number is only going down – but before the war, it made up over half of all the supply.

Russia will want Europe’s dependence on its resources back with a multitude of economic and political incentives for Putin’s massive country.

Now, Spetznaz special forces are reported by theExpressto be the ones being charged with trying to help Russia return to the top as the natural gas supplying kingpin.

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They are reportedly to set up a proxy force in Armenia – which is currently in a ceasefire in its ethnic war with Azerbaijan.

Russia placed thousands of peacekeeping forces there following the bloody border dispute, which has claimed the lives of hundreds of troops.

Both countries claim ownership over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, and part of Putin’s plan may involve training Armenian troops in how to win that fight.

Now, with Spetznaz training, troops in Armenia are thought to be trained in how to disrupt the South Caucasus pipeline which distributes the valuable energy resource from the Shah Deniz gas field in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea to Turkey and beyond.

A senior military source said: “This pipeline intelligence presents a classic grey-zone scenario, whereby Russia achieves the ­disruption of gas supplies to Europe while maintaining plausible deniability.

“Both Turkey and wider Nato will have to increase their defensive resilience.”

Sibylline strategic risk group's Alexander Lord, said: “Russia has already shown a willingness to undermine energy security.”

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