Russian official says expects Ukraine to steal transit gas

MOSCOW, July 9 Wed Jul 9, 2014 3:41am EDT

MOSCOW, July 9 (Reuters) - A senior Russian official said on Wednesday he expected Ukraine to start "stealing" natural gas from pipelines carrying deliveries to the rest of Europe when its own supplies run low in the autumn, Interfax news agency reported.

"We know from experience that when autumn and winter come, and Ukraine is short of gas, they (Kiev) will, sorry for putting it this way, steal it," Sergei Ivanov, the Kremlin's chief of staff, was quoted as saying during a visit to China.

Russia, which sends some its gas to Europe via pipelines through Ukraine, halted gas supplies to Kiev last month after Ukraine missed a deadline to start paying off its gas debts, estimated by Gazprom at $5.3 billion. ID:nL6N0PJ2EC]

(Reporting by Katya Golubkova, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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