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The head of ukraine's Naftogaz company, Naktogas, accuses Russia of blackmailing Europe over gas

The head of ukraine's Naftogaz company, Naktogas, accuses Russia of blackmailing Europe over gas

The head of Ukraine's state energy company Naftogaz said on Monday that Russia was trying to sway Europe into certifying its Nord Stream 2 pipeline by keeping natural gas supplies low.

Gazprom, the Russian state's gas giant, and the Kremlin' s ally, are both embroiled in negotiations. Russian gas companies have repeatedly stated that they are meeting all of the demands for gas supplies from European clients.

"All specialists understand that Gazprom deliberately does not supply additional volumes of gas to the European market," Naftogaz's Yuriy Vitrenko told a televised briefing.

"Everyone understands that this (additional) gas exists, everyone understand s Gazprom is deliberately reducing the supply of this gas, robbing Europe in order to get the Nord Stream 2 certification," he added.

Vitrenko also revealed that Naftogaz had filed a request with the German regulator for permission to participate in the certification process for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

"Our request for intervention is based on our assessment that the Nord Stream 2 project is in breach of EU legislation," he added, adding that it was designed to increase Europe's dependence on Russian gas and weaken European energy security.

Analysts have said that Gazprom has not booked larger volumes in a bid to push for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which is awaiting German regulatory approval to begin gas exports.

Gazprom did not book any additional gas transit volumes via Ukraine for November, but booked about a third of the additional LNG transit capacity through Poland's Yamal-Europe pipeline. at an auction on Monday, the company did book about one-third of available additional capacity via the Yamall-Europipe.

The Russian firm may hire additional transit capacity in addition to already agreed volumes. In the past, it has largely refused to buy substantial spare capacity through Ukraine.

After long and drawn-out talks, complicated by political tensions between the two ex-Soviet republics, Gazprom and Ukraine agreed a five-year agreement on Russian gas transit to Europe at the end of 2019.

Vitrenko said Ukraine is able to transit up to 140 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas to Europe each year, with the volume predicted to rise to about 40 billion b cm by 2021.

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