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VYBORG, Leningrad region, September 6 (Itar-Tass) — Ukraine loses its exclusive position of the country transiting Russian natural gas to Europe after the launch of the Nord Stream gas pipeline, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.
“Ukraine is our age-old and traditional partner,” he told reporters. “As any transit country it always feels temptation of taking advantage of its position.”
“Now this exclusive position disappears. Our relations will become more civilized,” Putin said.
The Russian prime minister visited Portovaya compressor station in the Leningrad region, on Tuesday, where he launched the process of filling the first phase of the Nord Stream pipeline with technological gas.
The prime minister was taken to the station by a helicopter, where in the pipeline’s control room with one click of the mouse he launched an automatic system that started filling the pipeline with technological gas.
Portovaya is a final destination of the Gryazovets-Vyborg pipeline, where it is connected with Nord Stream.
The pipeline’s customer supplies are planned for October. The first phase’s annual gas throughput is 27.5 billion cubic meters.
The second phase is expected to be commissioned at the end of 2012. Over 650 kilometers of the pipeline have already been built.
Nord Stream’s designed capacity is 55 billion cubic meters a year. The 1.224-kilometre pipeline will run along the Baltic seabed from Vyborg to Germany’s Greifswald.
Nord Stream is a principally new route for Russian gas supplies to Europe that will allow to diversify export routes, reduce dependence from transit countries and increase reliability of gas exports to a European consumer. The target markets are Germany, Britain, the Netherlands, France, Denmark and other EU member-states.