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FACTDROP: Russia halves Ukraine gas shipments


Russia halves Ukraine gas shipments

Map showing Russian natural gas pipelines.

Πηγή: EUobserver
March 30 2012

(MOSCOW) - Gazprom said on Friday it had recently halved Russia's natural gas shipments to Europe through Ukraine as part of efforts to reduce deliveries through the troublesome transit nation.

The Russian monopoly said it had reduced its deliveries across the former Soviet republic by 47 percent in recent days and denied Ukrainian claims that the drop was dictated by falling demand in Europe.

"This is only the beginning," Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said in a statement.

"We are at the start of a long journey aimed at diverting gas transits from Ukraine to our (Belarus) subsidiary Beltransgaz and our new subsea pipelines," the Gazprom spokesman said.

The deputy head of Ukraine's oil firm Naftogaz had earlier said that daily shipments through his company's transport network had dropped to 180-200 million cubic metres of gas from 400 million cubic metres earlier in the week.

"This is probably because Europe does not currently need such high volumes," Naftogaz deputy chief Vadim Chuprun was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency.

Russia has twice halted gas deliveries to Europe across Ukraine in the last six years over its neighbour's outstanding debts and refusal to agree to higher gas prices.

Ukraine on both occasions accused Russia of using gas as a weapon to pressure its government to adopt more pro-Moscow policies.

Kiev is now trying to rework a January 2009 agreement whose signing led to the eventual conviction and imprisonment of Ukraine's former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko for abuse of power.

Russia has offered to renegotiate the 10-year deal in exchange for control of Ukraine's pipeline network -- an offer that Kiev rejects.

The Russian firm last year launched the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea and is now also sending more gas through Belarus after winning full control of that ex-Soviet nation's pipeline network.

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