Putin, Serbia's Vucic discuss expanding energy cooperation - Kremlin

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Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic in Sochi, Russia November 25, 2021. Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS

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BELGRADE, April 6 (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has discussed expanding Moscow's economic cooperation with Belgrade, including in the energy sector, with Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic, the Kremlin said on Wednesday.

In the wake of European Union sanctions on Russian companies relating to the latter's invasion of Ukraine, Croatia’s oil transport company Jadranski Naftovod (JANAF) said transportation of crude oil via the Adriatic Oil Pipeline for Serbia's oil company NIS - majority-owned by Gazprom Neft (SIBN.MM) - will stop on May 15.

JANAF said it has a contract with NIS to transport a total of 3.2 million tons of crude oil this year.

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"President Vucic told President Putin about difficulties that Serbia is facing regarding crude oil imports and said he was convinced that both Gazprom Neft and partners form the EU will find a solution to such situation," the statement from Vucic's office said.

Vucic and Putin also discussed natural gas supply for which Serbia's contract expires on May 31.

"Talks about the new contract need to be launched as soon as possible," the statement said.

Serbia gets all its gas imports from Russia and Gazprom (GZAVI.MM) is majority owner of the country's sole gas storage facility.

Vucic, who overwhelmingly won a presidential election on Sunday and whose Serbian Progressive Party won the parliamentary vote, said he will continue with his policy of aiming for EU membership even as friendly relations are maintained with Russia, the statement said.

Putin and Vucic also discussed recent events in Ukraine, Vucic's office said in the statement.

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Reporting by Reuters and Ivana Sekularac Editing by Bernadette Baum

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