9 June 2014, 21:42

No country will voluntarily refuse to cooperate with Russia - President Putin

No country will voluntarily refuse to cooperate with Russia - President Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin claims that no country will voluntarily refuse to cooperate with Russia in the energy sector. No country will abandon cooperation with Russia in energy sector voluntarily, Vladimir Putin said on Monday. "No one will abandon cooperation with Russia in energy sector voluntarily," Putin said at a meeting with students in Arkhangelsk.

Cooperation with Russia in the energy sector brings benefits to foreign countries Vladimir Putin said. "No one will give up energy cooperation [with Russia] voluntarily," Putin told students in Arkhangelsk. Putin said in this connection that "colossal" interest is being shown in Russian mineral resources in the Arctic region.

"The interest is planetary. One can say without an exaggeration that mankind will be compelled to reach out to these world reserves, which means we will work together. W are not pushing anyone off and we are highly cooperative," Putin said. The energy market is very open, he continued.

Asked by a student whether international cooperation between students will be continued in the current controversial international situation, Putin said, "The situation has always been complicated. Has it ever been quiet? Perhaps, when humanitarian aid is being supplied to us. But when Russia becomes stronger, the situation, for some reason, becomes more complicated," Putin said. "As to cooperation, we will always engage in cooperation and others will cooperate with us - actively, I don't doubt," Putin added

Russian ambassador to EU slams politicization of energy issues

Russia's ambassador to the EU has linked the EU's move against the South Stream gas project with the West's pressure on Russia because of the crisis in Ukraine. The EU's move can be qualified as "creeping economic sanctions against Russia", Russian representative to the EU Vladimir Chizhov said on Monday.

"European Commissioner for Energy Guenther Oettinger linked the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline with the situation in Ukraine," he said.

The Russian diplomat named this as "sincere politicization of energy issues".

"Bulgaria conducted a tender for constructing the South Stream stretch. Bulgaria’s consortium Gazproekt Jug AD and Russia’s Stroytransgaz won the tender. Stroytransgaz is on the US sanctions list, but it is not on the EU sanctions list," Chizhov said.

This situation "was a test for the EU’s ability to pursue an independent policy", he said.

Chizhov said that after the talks with US senators on June 8, Bulgarian Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski had ordered the work on the South Stream project to be suspended.

He did not rule out that this issue would be discussed at the upcoming consultations between the Russian Energy Ministry and the European Commission.

The South Stream project has faced a number of problems since relations between Russia and Europe soured over Ukraine.

Gazprom said it can complete the South Stream pipeline without international funding.

Gazprom’s $45 billion South Stream project, slated to open in 2018 and deliver 64 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Europe, is a strategy for Russia to bypass politically unstable Ukraine as a transit country, and helps ensure the reliability of gas supplies to Europe.

Serbia imports about 2.5 billion cubic meters of gas per year, most of which comes from Russia via Hungary and Ukraine.

Bulgaria's economy minister believes South Stream project to be implemented

Bulgaria's Minister of Economy and Energy Dragomir Stoynev says he is convinced that the South Stream project plans to pipe gas under the Black Sea to Bulgaria and then ashore for onward transit to Greece, Italy and Austria will be implemented.

"South Stream looks like an irreversible European project. The question is not whether it will be implemented or not, but in what way it happens," said Stoynev on Monday, currently on a visit to China. "Over one year of work, I have accomplished my task and I have taken the South Stream project to a new level. No one challenges the implementation of the South Stream project or its necessity now."

"There is a consolidated position in support of the project in the energy ministries of Hungary, Austria, Croatia, Slovenia and Italy, where the pipeline routes will pass through. We will confirm this during an Energy Council meeting in Luxembourg at the end of this week," Stoynev said, adding that European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger was entitled to hold negotiations with Russia on ways to implement the project.

"Looking at the situation strategically and in a temperate manner, the South Stream project seems irreversible rather than otherwise, which is important both for Europe and for Bulgaria," the minister said. "Current disputes concern the matter of how this European project will be implemented. I am sure we will find a solution in a broader political context," he added, TASS reports.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski on Sunday ordered to suspend the work on South Stream project over the European Commission’s infringement proceedings. He announced this at a briefing after a meeting with American senators. Oresharski said the project’s future would be clarified "after additional consultations with Brussels".

On June 2, the European Commission announced its plans to suspend the South Stream project in European Union countries, firstly in Bulgaria. Sabine Berger, spokesperson of European Commissioner for Energy Guenther Oettinger, said the European Commission had two legal grounds for such step. She said the European Commission had complaints about the project's conformity to norms of the EU's regulatory "third energy package". Brussels also suspected Bulgaria of "breaking European rules for the holding of tenders for infrastructure construction projects" and of granting "preferential possibilities for Russian and Bulgarian companies".

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