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Russia and Russia-affiliated armed groups in the eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk are disrupting operations at a key compressor station through which one-third of Russian gas supply to Europe via Ukraine passes, the gas transmission systems operator of Ukraine, GTSOU, said on Friday.
"Gas TSO of Ukraine (GTSOU) reports on gross interference by representatives of the Russian Federation and illegal armed groups under their control, the so-called LNR, in operational work and technological processes of gas transportation through compressor station (CS) Novopskov in the Luhansk region," the operator said, noting that the "actions of Russian occupiers endanger the gas transit through GMS Sokhranivka."
Russian and Russia-affiliated armed groups are trying to interfere in the operations of the compressor station, which could result in the Ukrainian operator losing operational control over the equipment, GTSOU said.
"It will lead to significant risks to the integrity of the Ukrainian gas transmission system, the stability of gas transportation modes, and the impossibility of gas transportation through the CS, including gas volumes under the transit contract," the Ukrainian company said.
"Responsibility for the consequences falls on the Russian Federation," it added.
The European Union has so far refrained from imposing sanctions or an embargo on Russian natural gas, due to the EU's high dependence on Russian gas and insistence from major economies – including Germany – that a ban on Russian gas would lead to a deep recession in Europe.
However, some participants in the gas market in Europe are concerned that Russian flows could be disrupted due to combat activities before being disrupted by EU sanctions.
Earlier this week, Germany's Finance Minister Christian Lindner said that an immediate ban on imports of Russian oil and gas into Germany was not feasible, although he added he was all in favor of an energy embargo.
"If I could follow my heart," there would be a ban on Russian oil and gas in Germany, Lindner said in an interview published by German weekly Die Zeit on Wednesday.
An immediate ban on imports of Russian oil and gas, however, is not feasible at present, because it would endanger Germany's economy and social stability, the minister added.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com