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European Commission launches own probe in gas supplies to Donbas

February 24, 2015, 17:29 UTC+3 BRUSSELS
The European Commission is currently in the process of checking information on what is happening there
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© EPA/FILIP SINGER

BRUSSELS, February 24. /TASS/. The European Commission is holding its own probe into Russian natural gas supplies to east Ukraine as part of contractual relationships between Ukraine’s national energy company Naftogaz and Gazprom, European Commission spokesperson Anna-Kaisa Itkonen said on Tuesday.

The European Commission is currently in the process of checking information on what is happening there. It needs additional information as it can’t give its assessment of the situation now, the spokesperson said in reply to a question about the current relationships between Gazprom and Naftogaz and Russian gas supplies to the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.

Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said on February 20 the Russian gas monopoly had increased natural gas supplies to the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics known as Donbas on request from Ukraine’s national energy company Naftogaz.

"In accordance with an application from Naftogaz of Ukraine, Gazprom has today increased gas supplies to Ukraine, including through the Prokhorovka and Platovo gas metering stations," Miller said.

Ukraine’s Naftogaz halted on February 19 gas supplies to the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, saying the suspension had been prompted by "critical damage" done to the pipelines.

After Kiev suspended gas supplies to Donbas, Gazprom activated its Prokhorovka and Platovo gas metering stations to start supplying 12 million cubic meters of natural gas a day to southeast Ukraine as part of its gas contract with Naftogaz.

Several hours later, the Ukrainian authorities said they had restored damaged pipes and resumed gas supplies to Donbas.

Gazprom started gas supplies to southeast Ukraine on February 19 as part of a contract with Naftogaz but the Ukrainian national energy company said it would not pay for these gas deliveries.

Gazprom said it had started supplying 12 million cubic meters of natural gas a day from 4:00 p.m. Moscow time (1:00 p.m. GMT) on February 19 through the Prokhorovka and Platovo gas metering stations located on the border between the Luhansk and Donetsk regions.

Naftogaz earlier supplied natural gas to southeast Ukraine, using a different route.

The Russian premier ordered the Energy Ministry and Gazprom on February 19 to prepare proposals on humanitarian natural gas supplies to southeast Ukraine, following a request from the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.

Naftogaz CEO Andrei Kobolev said on February 19 "we [Naftogaz] cannot check whether or not gas was supplied from that side [from Russia]." "We cannot check these supplies. There is no control there over the volume of gas supplied to these territories from Russia. There are no representatives from among the Ukrainian and Russian sides that can control the number of deliveries," the Naftogaz head said.

"Naftogaz will not pay this bill and we believe this bill contradicts the contract [between Naftogaz and Gazprom]," the head of the Ukrainian national energy company said.

However, the statement by the Gazprom head suggested that the sides had agreed a new route of Russian natural gas supplies to Donbas.

The European Commission spokeswoman also said the Commission’s special working group had visited Kiev on February 19 and found no threat to gas transit to the EU through Ukraine.

The EC spokeswoman earlier said the European Commission expected full implementation of the winter gas package but it was early to talk about new negotiations and was ready at any moment to resume Russia-EU-Ukraine gas talks.

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