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Russia to supply enough gas to Europe in winter — Putin

October 16, 2014, 19:59 UTC+3
The gas supply will only be cut in case Ukraine taps gas from the export pipeline system without authorization
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© EPA/SERGEY DOLZHENKO

BELGRADE, October 16. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that Russia will provide enough gas to Europe in winter.

“We would very much like to prevent any crises in the fall-winter period,” Putin admitted at a press conference after talks with the Serbian leadership.

“I can tell you for sure and am saying with absolute responsibility: there will be no crises in Europe due to the fault of Russian participants of energy cooperation,” Putin said.

“Russia has always been a reliable supplier,” the Russian leader emphasized. “We have enough resources to provide for our own needs and growing demands of our consumers in Europe or Asia.”

“There exist great transit risks. If we see our Ukrainian partners begin to tap our gas from the export pipeline system without authorization, like in 2008, then we, like in 2008, will cut supply consecutively by the stolen volume,” Putin told journalists.

“But I hope very much it will not come to that,” he said, adding that he will start a series of meetings in Italy Thursday, including on Ukraine’s gas problem.

“Our partners - European, Ukrainian - are in contact with us. I hope they will manage to agree and put a period to all disputes,” Putin said.

Russia-Ukraine gas dispute

Ukraine, which transits Russian gas on to European consumers, currently does not receive Russian gas for its own needs due to an unsettled dispute with Moscow over prices.

Russian state-controlled energy giant Gazprom on June 16 switched Ukraine’s national oil and gas company Naftogaz to prepayment for gas supplies because Kiev failed to pay part of its gas debt by the deadline of 10:00 Moscow Time on June 16.

Gas supplies to Ukraine for its own needs were halted, but transit volumes were reportedly passing via Ukraine to Europe in line with the schedule.

In late 2008 - early 2009, a gas dispute between Moscow and Kiev saw Russia cut off gas supplies to Ukraine on January 1, 2009 over unpaid debts. Gas deliveries to European consumers were affected because Ukraine apparently started siphoning off transited gas. The dispute was resolved on January 18, 2009 with a new gas contract that today’s Kiev authorities want revised.

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