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Putin: Russia’s new gas pipeline projects have nothing to do with situation in Ukraine

June 24, 2014, 20:31 UTC+3 VIENNA
The Russian president reminded that such projects as Nord Stream, South Stream and Blue Stream had appeared long before
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VIENNA, June 24. /ITAR-TASS/. Projects for the construction of new gas pipelines from Russia, including the agreement on the establishment of a joint venture with an Austrian company that was signed on Tuesday, have nothing to do with the situation in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday after the talks with his Austrian counterpart Heinz Fischer.

The South Stream gas pipeline is expedient and useful, Heinz Fischer noted at a joint news conference with Russia’s president.

“These are natural steps to expand the transport infrastructure,” he said. “This is not a striving to bypass Ukraine.”

Putin reminded that such projects as Nord Stream, South Stream and Blue Stream had appeared long before. “It is wrong to always say that we are doing anything against anyone,” he stressed.

He said he had big doubts about competitive advantages of American shale gas on the European market. “It will not be cheaper than Russian gas,” he said. “It costs money to extract, process, ship and re-gasify shale gas, so, it will be even more expensive.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Russia’s gas monopolist Gazprom and Austria’s oil and gas corporation OMV signed a shareholders’ agreement, determining principles of activity of a joint venture, South Stream Austria. First gas through the South Stream pipeline is expected to be pumped to Austria at the end of 2016, OMV spokesman Robert Lechner told reporters.

Meanwhile, Putin is calm about attempts by some countries to engage in gas competition with Russia despite the fact that they sometimes use political measures.

“They are rivals, they do everything to disrupt [the Russian gas] contract,” the Russian president said. “It’s an ordinary competitive struggle.”

“Political means are also used,” he said.

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