14:55 07.01.2009

Kremlin wants Ukraine to stop diverting Russian gas, reopen transit

The Kremlin has demanded that the Ukrainian side immediately stop diverting Russian gas.

"In the current situation, the Ukrainian side must first of all stop illegally tapping Russian gas intended for European consumers and flowing across Ukraine, and immediately reopen transit for European consumers," presidential press secretary Natalya Timakova said.

Timakova was commenting on reports claiming that Ukrainian President Viktor Yuschenko sent a letter concerning the situation surrounding gas shipments to the Russian president.

"Talks between Moscow and Kyiv - between Gazprom and Naftogaz - were cut short on December 31, 2008, by the Ukrainian side," the Kremlin said.

"Since then, Gazprom officials have confirmed their readiness to continue the talks without any prior terms on many occasions. Since the beginning of the year, Gazprom representatives have remained prepared every minute to negotiate real terms for continuing gas shipments," Timakova said.

"Gazprom management has all powers to continue the talks," she said.

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