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“To ensure reverse gas flows to Ukraine, the Ukrainian side and gas transportation companies of Poland, Hungary and Slovakia have reconstructed their gas pipeline systems, allowing transporting gas via the border and its consumption metering,” Alexander Medvedev, deputy chairman of Gazprom's board of directors, said in an answer to an inquiry of a Russian lawmaker.
The Russian State Duma’s deputy head of the Committee on Industries Vladimir Gutenev asked Gazprom in a letter last month to verify reports of reverse Russian gas flows from the European Union to Ukraine, a practice that the energy giant doubts is legal.
Russia’s Gazprom confirmed in a letter signed by Medvedev that since 2012, the Ukrainian side has been actively working with European companies to diversify gas supplies to Ukraine. “There are all grounds to assert that Russian natural gas, aimed not for Ukrainian but European consumers, is being supplied to Ukraine as a rule, under a scheme of the so-called ‘virtual’ reverse, but with the movement of gas via the Ukraine-EU border. The legality of this scheme is doubtful,” Medvedev said.
In 2012-2014, Ukraine’s gas imports from Slovakia, Poland and Hungary totaled 3.8 billion cubic meters, including 1.7 billion cubic meters this year, Medvedev stressed, adding that Ukraine’s Naftogaz is not complying with the current contracts.
Gutenev said Russian lawmakers are drafting a bill banning Russian exporters from supplying oil and gas to debtor countries and the states that “virtually” re-export hydrocarbons to the debtor countries.
Russia stopped gas flows to Ukraine in June over an unsettled dispute over debt and gas prices.
The Naftogaz oil and gas company stopped paying for the consumed Russian natural gas on March 25. As of August 1, the overall debt of Naftogaz to Gazprom for supplied gas totaled about $5.3 billion.