Russia: Future gas route "must go via Serbia"

BELGRADE -- Russia thinks that a future route for supply of Europe with natural gas "must go via Serbia," Ambassador Aleksandr Chepurin has said.

(Tanjug)
(Tanjug)

This will happen when Moscow, in four years' time, abandons transits through Ukraine and turns to Turkey, and Nord Stream.

Gazprom earlier announced its "firm decision" to stop shipping gas to Europe via Ukraine once the current contract expires. Instead the company plans to build four pipelines up to the Turkish-Greek border, the first expected to become operational in 2016.

Speaking during the opening of the 2nd Russian-Serbian Economic Expo in Belgrade on Wednesday - attended by Serbian FM Ivica Dacic - Chepurin noted that questions related to gas transport are in the focus after the South Stream project was abandoned.

"Routes should be precisely appraised, as well as interest," he said, singling out "three key elements": security of deliveries, ability to secure guaranteed amounts, and competitive prices.

The southern route should go via Turkey up to the Greek border, "and then there will be negotiations with the EU."

"Bearing in mind that our partners determined and defined themselves regarding the route earlier, barring the current bureaucratic obstacles, Russia is ready to join the realization of the project," Chepurin was quoted as saying.

He also announced that the price of Russian gas could go down in the summer, and that the first quarter of this year already saw a significant decrease.

Speaking about Serbia's food exports to Russia, the ambassador noted that they doubled last year and could reach USD 500 million in the next year or two.

The Serbian Chamber of Commerce said earlier that the country in 2014 exported food worth USD 300 million to Russia - nearly 67 percent more than in 2013.