Monday Jun 09, 201411:17 PM GMT
Russia raps EU for halting gas line construction
Mon Jun 9, 2014 10:35PM
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Russia has slammed the European Union for what it calls making a political decision to suspend construction of South Stream gas pipeline.

Russia's EU envoy Vladimir Chizhov said on Monday that the European Union had forced Bulgaria into suspending the pipeline project because of US pressure.

"It is hard to shake off the feeling that the European Commission's blocking of the start of work on the construction of Bulgaria's key section of South Stream has been done for purely political purposes," Chizhov told reporters.

Chizhov also said that Europe’s ability to maintain an independent policy from the US is being tested by the current situation.

Bulgaria has said that the pipeline’s signed contracts do not correspond with the current European norms.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski said on June 9 that he had ordered all work on the project to be stopped.

There are reports that Serbia has also suspended its part of the pipeline project.

With a capacity of 63 billion cubic meters per year, the main pipeline will almost stretch 2,500 kilometers from Russia under the Black Sea to Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and Slovenia to end in Italy, while bypassing crisis-hit Ukraine.

Earlier in April, Russian energy giant Gazprom increased the price of gas for Ukrainian consumers to $485 per 1,000 cubic meters from $268 for the first quarter of 2014. Ukrainian officials say Moscow's act is politically motivated, but Russian authorities reject the claim.

Russia provides about half of Ukraine’s and 30 percent of Europe’s total gas demand with major pipelines in the Ukrainian territory.

SRK/AS/MAM

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