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Putin sees Serbian section of TurkStream built in coming weeks

Christian Fernsby |
Construction of the Serbian section of the TurkStream gas pipeline will be completed over the next few weeks, Russian President Vladimir Putin said following talks with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.

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“Serbia has joined construction of a gas transport system, which is an onshore continuation of the TurkStream gas pipeline in Southern Europe. Pipe laying on the Serbian territory will be completed in the coming weeks,” Putin said.

He also said that an agreement was reached to raise the capacity of underground gas storage facilities in Serbia to 2 billion cubic meters from 750 million cubic meters.

“We’re convinced that implementation of these large-scale energy projects will help to significantly strengthen energy security not only of Serbia, but the entire Balkan region, and Europe on the whole,” Putin said.

Serbia’s participation in transit of Russian gas through the TurkStream pipeline is possible, Putin added.

“As for Serbia’s possible participation in transit of Russian gas through the TurkStream. Yes, this is possible. We are ready,” Putin said.

He also said that Bulgaria is intentionally lingering implementation of the TurkStream pipeline on its territory, and if Bulgaria does not want to implement the gas transport project on its territory, Russia will find other possibilities for gas transit via the south of Europe.

Russia is ready to keep gas transit through Ukraine, but Kiev’s conditions are unacceptable so far, Putin said.

“We are ready to keep the Ukrainian gas. We are holding talks about it now, this is not a secret. But conditions offered by Ukrainian transiters are economically unacceptable for us so far. But I hope that we will manage to somehow agree on positions,” he said.

Russia is discussing the possibility of raising gas supplies to Europe in case of suspension of gas transit through Ukraine, Putin added.

Vucic said he believes that Serbia will receive Russian gas regardless of the outcome of the Russian–Ukrainian talks.

“I received assurances from Russian President (Vladimir) Putin and (has giant Gazprom CEO Alexei) Miller that we can always buy additional gas from other countries and that the first and second quarter of next year we can meet with certainty, regardless of how negotiations between Russia and Ukraine develop,” Vucic said.

Putin also said separately Russian oil major Gazprom Neft already invested around U.S. $3 billion in its Serbian subsidiary and plans to invest another $1.4 billion until 2025.

Putin also said that Russia is ready to help with updating the fleet of the Serbian national carrier Air Serbia, including the creation of a center for aircraft repair.

“The Russian side is offering assistance in updating the fleet of the Serbian national carrier Air Serbia. At the same time, we are ready to supply not only domestic aircraft, but also organize a regional center for maintenance and repair of Russian aircraft at the Belgrade airport,” Putin said.

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