Oettinger says EU's Russian gas via Ukraine probably safe

BERLIN Thu Aug 28, 2014 7:34am EDT

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BERLIN (Reuters) - European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said on Thursday he does not expect Europe to suffer interruptions of Russian gas supplies that go through Ukraine, but he could not rule it out completely.

Addressing a meeting of German and Balkan leaders in Berlin, Germany's EU commissioner said it was important not to allow the Russian gas monopoly Gazprom (GAZP.MM) to become too powerful when it comes to the ownership of gas pipelines.

Russia, Europe's biggest supplier of gas meeting almost a third of demand in the region, cut off gas supplies to Ukraine in June in a dispute over unpaid bills but Russian gas supplies to Europe via Ukraine have been flowing uninterrupted since.

(Reporting by Gernot Heller; Writing by Stephen Brown)

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