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Bulgaria to complete TurkStream branch before end of 2020

The pipeline's new branch will supply other European countries with gas

MOSCOW, June 26. /TASS/. President of the Bulgarian National Assembly Tsveta Karayancheva announced on Wednesday the country's plans to complete construction of the Balkan Stream - a branch of the TurkStream gas pipeline through Bulgaria to Serbia - before the end of 2020.

"In accordance with European directives, we are beginning construction of a branch of the TurkStream. We are not evading the obligations that we have made to our citizens. In connection with this we have made changes to our country's energy strategy. Before the end of 2020 with full compliance with European directives, the construction of a branch, the so-called Balkan Stream, which would ensure gas supplies to other European countries, will be completed," she said at a meeting with Russian State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin.

Karayancheva recalled that Bulgaria was supposed to be the first point of the unrealized project of the South Stream gas pipeline. "We were forced to cease activities for the project’s implementation, as violations of the provisions of the third liberalization package were found," she said.

Bulgaria has previously participated in the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline, which was planned to be laid along the bottom of the Black Sea from the Anapa region to the Bulgarian port of Varna, and then to Italy and Austria, but in the summer of 2014, at the insistence of the European Commission, Sofia ceased works, and did not issue permission to lay pipes in its territory. In December 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the South Stream pipeline would be replaced by a pipeline through Turkey, known as the TurkStream.

The first line of the pipeline was intended for the Turkish market, the second - for gas supply to the countries of South and South-Eastern Europe.