MOSCOW, January 26. /TASS/. The Ukrainian transit of Russian gas to Europe is unreliable and the European Union realizes that it is necessary to provide direct deliveries of Russian hydrocarbons, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a press conference summing up 2015. He was commenting on the issue of termination of the South Stream pipeline project.
Russia "has never initiated the reduction of trade-economic and any other cooperation with Bulgaria," Lavrov said.
"But we could not wait until Brussels would change its mind regarding the South Stream and we began to look for alternatives. Europe needs Russian gas and Ukrainian transit is not reliable, you can see evidence of that every day. Every day our Ukrainian neighbors make some statements, in particular, that they are to raise the price of transit 10 times, although the price is set by the contract, and so on," he said.
According to Lavrov, "the need for direct access of Russian gas to the European Union is a reality that is shared by all."
In December 2014, Russia announced that it would abandon the South Stream because of the unconstructive position of the EU.
"We found a variant of the Nord Stream-2, although it could have been the South Stream if the European Commission had thought not about the geopolitical games but of how to do their job honestly and ensure the energy security of the European Union," the Russian minister said.
However, Lavrov said that Russia and Bulgaria "have close historical and cultural ties."
"It's a shame when some politicians serving their short-term goals are ready to destroy all that and sacrifice it to their aspirations which are dictated from abroad," he said.
Speaking about the development of relations in education between Russia and Bulgaria, the Russian foreign minister said that "it is necessary to move towards the Bologna Process" [aimed at the convergence and harmonization of higher education systems in Europe with the aim of creating a common European higher education area, in force since 19 June 1999 , when the Bologna Declaration was signed and currently comprises 47 countries, including Russia - TASS]. "We intend to expand the number of Bulgarian students who want to study in Russia, including on a commercial basis. This shows that the Russian education enjoys a good reputation in the world," he said.