Russia making gas delivery to EU difficult: source

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Russia is providing Ukraine with gas in a way that makes its successful delivery to Europe difficult, a source familiar with the work of European Union monitors said on Thursday.

Europe is still not receiving gas from Russia, its main supplier, despite Moscow having provided some at the Sudzha entry point on Ukraine’s northeastern border.

Transit country Ukraine refused to let the gas through, saying it should be delivered via two entry points further south although Gazprom vigorously defended its intended route.

“EU monitors are clearly seeing Russia is not supplying enough gas into the pipeline and clearly choosing the most difficult route and not using multiple routes as is necessary,” the source told Reuters.

The European Commission said all conditions had been met for Russia to resume gas supplies and for Ukraine to begin transporting it to Europe again, but declined to apportion blame.

“At this point, the Commission is not judging why Russia chose that entry point, or why Ukraine did not allow the gas through,” Commission energy spokesman Ferran Tarradellas Espuny said.

“But the Commission thinks full volumes of gas have to be supplied and full volumes of gas have to be allowed to transit immediately,” he added.

Gazprom denied it had chosen the most complicated option, saying the route via Sudzha compressor station had always served as the main passage for Balkan and European gas transit.

It said the routes proposed by Ukraine could not serve the purpose of delivering gas to the Balkans, which have been hardest hit by the crisis.

“To put it in more context, Ukraine’s Naftogaz central dispatching unit told us today they can accept gas through Sudzha and were waiting for a decision from political leaders,” a Gazprom spokesman said.

“But then their chief Oleh Dubyna came back to us and said gas won’t flow through this route without explaining why,” the spokesman said.

The Russian and Ukrainian prime ministers will meet in Moscow on Saturday to try to resolve a gas row that has cut back supplies to a freezing Europe.

Moscow has accused Ukraine of deliberately cutting gas to Europe while Kiev says Moscow is trying to use the wrong routes and to deny it gas to maintain pressure in the pipelines.

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