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Russian Europe-bound pipeline to restart work after blast

MOSCOW, May 18 (RIA Novosti) - A Russian Europe-bound gas pipeline running across Ukraine will start operations Monday following a recent blast, Ukraine's national oil and gas company said Friday.

An explosion damaged a 30-meter stretch of the Urengoi-Uzhgorod natural gas trunk pipeline in Ukraine May 7, but Russia's energy giant Gazprom said gas flows to European consumers had been unaffected and supplies had been rerouted via a bypass pipeline.

"The work to repair the pipeline's damaged sections was completed May 16 and the start mode has been switched on," Oleksiy Fyodorov, a spokesman for Naftogaz Ukrainy said over the phone.

Meanwhile, Sergei Pravosudov, director of the Russian institute of national energy, said the reliability of the Ukrainian gas transportation system, which pumps most of Russian natural gas to Europe, needed to be improved.

"Today it is not a secret that the Ukrainian gas pipeline system is seriously worn out and is in need of urgent modernization. This is a concern to both Russia and Europe as no one is interested in the disruption of gas delivery contracts," he said.

Svyatoslav Piskun, Ukraine's top prosecutor said May 8 that negligence by some officials had been the cause of the blast, adding that the preliminary investigation had cited loss of pressure in the pipeline and sinking ground as technical reasons.

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