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Kiev blames Moscow for threat to EU gas supply

Video by Audrey RACINE , Sarah DRURY

Latest update : 2009-01-05

While Russia's Gazprom insists it is supplying enough gas to meet European energy needs, Ukraine's Naftogaz has lashed out at the Russian energy giant, accusing it of manipulating supplies and warning of "unpredictable consequences" for Europe.

AFP - Ukrainian state energy company Naftogaz on Sunday accused Russia's Gazprom energy giant of manipulating supplies through Ukraine's transit network with "unpredictable consequences" for Europe.
   
The statement came as a Gazprom insisted it was fulfiling its obligations to customers in the European Union, providing needed amounts of gas at the Ukrainian border for onward shipment.
   
Naftogaz said it had received a warning from Gazprom that it would cut the volume of gas going to Europe through one of the branches in the Ukrainian pipeline system -- a route known as Soyuz -- by 52 million cubic metres.
   
"Under such circumstances, the route is in fact being taken out of the gas distribution scheme for European Union countries," the company said.
   
Such conduct could have "unpredictable consequences for the entire gas distribution system in Europe," the statement said.
   
Naftogaz "urges Gazprom to stop technical manipulation of volumes and gas supply routes, synchronize the work of the gas distribution systems of Russia, Ukraine and Europe" and resume talks, the statement said.
   
"Naftogaz demands Gazprom immediately resume supplies of gas across all the main transit routes" through Ukraine to European Union neighbours, the statement said.
   
Naftogaz reiterated its claims that Russia was deliberately violating its supply obligations to EU countries, something denied on Sunday by Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov.
   
"Gazprom is providing gas at the entry to the Ukrainian gas transport system in full accordance with the transit contract and the requests of European consumers," Kupriyanov said.
   
Russian gas supplies to the European Union pass through a grid of Soviet-built pipelines in Ukraine, one of which is the Soyuz line.
   
Ukraine claims that provisions for trans-shipment of gas under a 2005 protocol prevent proper coordination of supplies.
   
Russia cut gas supplies to the domestic Ukrainian market in a gas payment dispute on New Year's Day, promising that onward supplies through the system would not be disrupted.

Date created : 2009-01-04

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