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Russia's Gazprom says could maintain transit via Ukraine

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Moscow (AFP)

Russia's Gazprom said Tuesday it was possible that it could retain some transit via Ukraine after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said this was essential for a planned Russian-German pipeline to go ahead.

Gazprom chief Alexei Miller was quoted by the state-owned energy giant as saying: "We never raised the question of stopping Ukraine transit".

He added that "a certain amount of transit could be maintained, from 10 to 15 billion cubic metres per year, but the Ukrainian side must prove the economic expediency of a new transit contract."

Miller said, however, that the location of Russia's potential gas resources was shifting to the north and "there simply won't be the same amount of resources" to go through the central pipeline.

Merkel said earlier Tuesday that plans for a controversial second underwater pipeline to bring gas from Russia could not go forward without Ukrainian involvement in overland transit.

"A Nord Stream 2 project without clarity about the Ukrainian transit role is not possible," Merkel said, after talks in Berlin with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

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