Ukraine says Russian troops at gas compressor stations pose supply risk

3D printed Natural Gas Pipes are placed on displayed Russia's and Ukraine's flags in this illustration taken, January 31, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
  • Russia says it is in control of two compressor stations
  • Russia says it guarantees safety of operations
  • Gas supplies into Ukraine via Slovakia stable

LVIV, Ukraine March 10 (Reuters) - The arrival of Russian troops at two gas compressor stations in eastern Ukraine poses a risk to European supplies, Ukraine's gas pipeline operator warned on Thursday, although there were no signs of an immediate impact on flows.

Russia said compressor stations at Novopskov in the Luhansk region and Kupiansk near Kharkiv were under its control, and it guaranteed the safety of all operations and equipment.

Russia is the European Union's top gas supplier and its invasion of Ukraine has sharpened concerns about supply disruptions, sending gas prices soaring.

Some 41.6 billion cubic metres (bcm) of Russian gas was transported through Ukraine to Europe in 2021, making it a key supply route, although that was down 25% on the year before as Moscow looks for alternatives. read more

Gas supplies into Slovakia from Ukraine via the Velke Kapusany border point were stable at the time of writing, according to transmission system operator data.

Ukraine's gas pipeline operator OGTSU said attempts by Russian forces to enter the two stations created significant risks for the safety of personnel and continuity of gas transportation. read more

"There is a real danger to (gas) transit," OGTSU chief Sergiy Makogon told Reuters.

"Our intention is to continue gas flows, as we have proven over the last 2 weeks," OGTSU said on Twitter. "If there are any interruptions/shortages of gas in Europe, please explain to your constituents who is at fault."

President Vladimir Putin on Thursday said Russia was meeting all its gas obligations in full and that Ukraine's gas transit system was 100% supplied. "It's surprising, but true. We're doing all this," Russian agency Interfax quoted him as saying.

Earlier Russian deputy energy minister Pavel Sorokin said Russian forces at the Novopskov and Kupiansk compressor stations would guarantee the full safety of their operations and protection of equipment.

At the first high-level talks between Russia and Ukraine since Moscow invaded on Feb. 24, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Russia must immediately pull back its troops from occupied gas and nuclear energy facilities.

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a "special operation" that it says is not designed to occupy territory but to destroy its southern neighbour's military capabilities and capture what it regards as dangerous nationalists.

Additional reporting by Reuters reporters, Writing by Alessandra Prentice, Editing by Timothy Heritage, Mark Potter, Elaine Hardcastle

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