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Russian terrorists threaten to overlap gas supplies to Europe

Mon, 13.10.2014 14:40



KYIV/Ukraine in Arabic/ Militants in Donbass are planning to "turn off" at least one gas pipeline "Soyuz" from the Ukrainian gas transportation system, which provides a quarter of Russian gas transit to Europe.

"The length of the pipeline is 1,567 km, it runs through the whole territory of Ukraine from the east of Novopskov, via Poltava gas fields, in particular Shebelynka, with export outlets to the GTS of Hungary (via the gas-measuring station of Beregove) and Slovakia (via the Uzhgorod direction). The design capacity of the main gas pipeline "Soyuz" exceeds 26 billion cubic meters per year. In addition to the transit of Russian gas, this gas pipeline delivers gas to residents of several regions of Ukraine,” a statement reads.

In addition, there are two UGS in the Donbas region - Verhunske (it now houses more than 176 million cubic meters of gas) and Krasnopopovske (with a stock of 19.5 million cubic meters). These underground storage tanks were used in the seasonal maximum to maintain the pressure in the transport unit "Donbastransgas" and for providing Donetsk and Luhansk regions with stable gas supply.

Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk on Wednesday branded Russia a "terrorist state" over its actions in eastern Ukraine and reaffirmed Kiev's desire to join the NATO alliance, which will hold a two-day summit this week.

Yatseniuk also told a televised cabinet meeting that pro-Russian separatists were deliberately targeting energy infrastructure in eastern Ukraine and he detailed plans to compensate lost supplies of both natural gas and coal.

His remarks came as spokesmen for Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin said the two had discussed possible peace measures in a telephone call.

The Kiev spokesman said they had agreed on a "permanent ceasefire" in eastern Ukraine's Donbass region, but in Moscow Putin's spokesman denied this because he said Russia itself was not a party to the conflict.

"Russia is a terrorist state, it is an aggressor state and will bear responsibility under international law," Yatsenyuk said, using tough rhetoric partly aimed at Ukraine's Western backers before a NATO summit opening in Wales on Thursday.

"Concerning NATO, I consider the most correct decision would be one to accept Ukraine as a member of NATO," Yatsenyuk said.

Last week, Yatsenyuk announced plans to submit a draft a law in parliament to scrap Ukraine's non-aligned status and steer a course towards NATO membership. The alliance is highly unlikely to admit the impoverished former Soviet republic of 45 million people as a member.

Yatsenyuk also said on Wednesday Ukraine was pressing ahead with a project to build what he called a "real state border" between his country and Russia, without elaborating.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the 2,295 km land border between the two countries has been largely porous, a fact Kiev says has helped fighters and weapons to pass freely from Russia onto its territory.

Russia denies directly helping the rebels, despite what the West and Kiev say is overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Energy needs

Commenting on his country's energy woes, Yatsenyuk said Ukraine needed to buy some 25 billion cubic meters of natural gas to meet its annual needs. Russia cut off its exports to Ukraine in July in a dispute over pricing.

Ukraine will receive 10 billion cubic meters from its western neighbor Slovakia and 5 billion from Hungary and Poland, he said. Its current gas reserves total 16 billion cubic meters, the prime minister added.

"The Russian bandits and terrorists are deliberately destroying the energy system of Ukraine, knowing that restoring it will cost billions," he said.

Ukraine's security council said on Wednesday the separatists also posed a threat to Europe's imports of Russian gas.

"Russian mercenaries have begun actions which may lead to the destruction of the gas transit system on the temporarily occupied territory (of eastern Ukraine)," the council's press service said in a statement.

"This may pose a threat to supplies of gas to Europe."

Half of Russian gas exports to Europe cross Ukrainian territory, including parts of the east now in rebel hands.

Yatseniuk announced Ukraine would buy one million tonnes of coal from South Africa because the conflict has disrupted domestic production in its Donbass region, home to much of the country's heavy industry and many coal mines.

"They (the rebels) bombed our main coal mines," he said.

Ukraine relies on coal-fired power plants to generate about 40 percent of its electricity.

According to the United Nations, the war, in which pro-Russian separatists are fighting to throw off rule from Kiev, has killed more than 2,600 people and driven nearly a million from their homes in eastern Ukraine.

reuters.com

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