Shortfall in Russian gas piped to Europe via Ukraine - Gazprom

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MOSCOW, January 23 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine is not transporting to Europe all the gas that Gazprom is trying to send through the country's pipelines to its customers, the deputy head of the Russian energy giant said Monday.

"Gas in Ukraine remains above envisaged volumes, which prevents us from fully meeting our obligations to foreign customers," Alexander Medvedev said.

The gas shortfall could be attributed to Ukraine siphoning off the gas, he said.

Medvedev said increased amounts of natural gas had been supplied to Ukraine's systems in recent days. He said that if all that gas had been transported onwards, foreign consumers would have received their required volumes in full.

"But at a time when Gazprom is taking all measures to increase production and take more gas from underground storage facilities... some people seem to think they can consume as much gas as they want to. Unfortunately, I have to attribute this characteristic to our Ukrainian colleagues," he said.

Medvedev urged Ukraine "to be more responsible," in its gas use, and said he hoped the problem would be settled soon.

Russia and Ukraine were involved in a bitter pricing dispute over gas delivered by Gazprom, which cut off supplies to Russia's neighbor on January 1 after negotiations on the issue failed.

In the wake of this move, the company said a fall in gas arriving at European destinations via three pipelines through Ukrainian territory had been registered. The dispute was officially settled with a new price agreement on January 4.

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