Ukrainian PM vows stable natural gas transit

KIEV, November 15 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine's prime minister pledged Wednesday that the country will not tap Russian natural gas bound for Europe as it did in early 2006.

Following a deadlock over the price of Russian natural gas supplies to Ukraine in January that resulted in Russian energy giant Gazprom cutting off deliveries to the former Soviet republic, Ukraine siphoned off considerable amounts of transit natural gas, creating shortages in European countries.

"We guarantee compliance with our commitments to the European Union and Russia in 2007," Viktor Yanukovych said at a press conference with his Polish counterpart, Jaroslaw Kaczynski. "Ukraine is and will be a reliable partner of the EU in fuel deliveries."

Gazprom said in January that Ukraine's extra tapping of Russian natural gas reached 80 million cubic meters daily. As a result, Ukraine used 326 million cubic meters of the natural gas destined for European consumers between January 19 and 25.

Gazprom said at the time that Ukraine was the only transit country that blatantly violated the international norms of the natural gas business.

"At a time when severe cold is affecting practically all European countries, Ukraine is using its position as a transit country to ensure extra supplies of gas at the expense of consumers in Europe by exceeding illegally not only its own quotas, but also tapping into additional supplies of Russian gas to Europe," Deputy Chairman Alexander Ananenkov said at the time.

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