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Russia rejects rumors it plans to cut oil supplies to Europe

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Russia dismissed on Friday media reports claiming the country plans to cut oil supplies to Europe amid growing tensions over the Georgia conflict, calling them nonsense.
MOSCOW, August 29 (RIA Novosti) - Russia dismissed on Friday media reports claiming the country plans to cut oil supplies to Europe amid growing tensions over the Georgia conflict, calling them nonsense.

The British newspaper The Daily Telegraph reported earlier Friday that Russia could cut oil supplies to Germany and Poland from next Monday.

"Even during the Cold War, the Soviet Union consistently fulfilled its contract obligations to supply energy to Europe irrespective of political or other circumstances," Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, who oversees the energy sector in the Russian government, said.

Western nations have condemned Russia's decision to recognize Georgia's breakaway republics as independent, while calling on Moscow to withdraw its troops from Georgia.

"Russia, as a responsible and reliable partner, also adheres to such principles," Sechin said.

The deputy premier added that Russian oil exporters were mostly international companies listed on European and U.S. stock exchanges. These companies strictly meet the requirements of global financial and commodity markets, and carefully honor their commitments to Western consumers and creditors, Sechin said.

Russia's largest independent oil producer LUKoil commented on the reports, "LUKoil is continuing to export oil and oil products to Europe. No warning has been given by the Russian government," a company spokesman said.

The Druzhba oil pipeline has a length of around 6,000 km and is the world's largest oil route. The pipeline pumps almost half of all Russian oil exports. Up to 70-80 million metric tons of oil has been pumped westwards in the past few years.

The pipeline's northern sector goes via Belarus, Poland and Germany, and its southern legs stretch to Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told CNN on Thursday that Moscow had never politicized economic relations, nor had it used or was going to use energy supplies as a bargaining chip.

A European Commission spokesman denied Friday any knowledge of Russian plans reported in the media to cut oil supplies to EU countries.

Ton van Lierop, a spokesperson for the cabinet of the EC vice president for Enterprise and Industry, said the European Commission was "unaware" of such plans.

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