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BRUSSELS, May 09. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian Ambassador to the European Union Vladimir Chizhov said the reverse gas supply from Europe to Ukraine is "a purely symbolic solution," which does not give Ukraine the opportunity to stop importing Russian gas.
"There is no such opportunity," Chizhov told Russian reporters, adding that technically, reverse supply was feasible.
He underlined that reverse deliveries to Ukraine would not come through trunk pipelines which supplied gas to Europe.
"One pipeline cannot pump both ways. Switching a transit pipeline to reverse will inevitably limit gas supplies to EU markets," the diplomat said. "The Slovak government is well aware of it, and said from the very beginning that it would not handle reverse supply through the trunk pipeline at the cost of violating contracts with Russia."
According to Chizhov, local gas pipelines are expected to help solve the problem. One is a small local gas pipeline from Poland, which can only meet an insignificant portion of Ukraine's demand for gas.
It is also possible to use the pipeline though Vojani in Slovakia.
It is planned to supply gas to Ukraine from the surplus stock of Germany's RWE, the envoy noted. "It has underground gas strorages and gas surplus, mostly from Russia, but it also has Norwegian and Dutch gas, i.e. a mix. The appearance of surplus is naturally linked with the overall financial and economic crisis in Europe which decreased consumption. However, it is good when it is summer, but in winter, you might not find surplus gas," he went on.
There is also the issue of the price of reverse gas supply. "They are very reluctant to comment on it. I can only say it will not be cheaper than Russian gas for Kiev," Chizhov noted.