Russia Says Ready to Build Black Sea Pipeline
Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesperson has assured the country stands ready to carry through the construction of a gas pipeline to Europe going under the Black Sea.
He has pointed out such a project can be put into practice as long as the European Commission is interested.
"All depends on how predictable and constructive behavior the EU Commission shows," TASS news agency quotes Dmitry Peskov as saying.
His comments come after South Stream, a pipeline project designed to transport Russian gas to Europe under the Black Sea, was declared abandoned by Putin in December 2014.
Putin, who cited EU opposition to the project and lack of construction permits for the offshore section that had to be issued by Bulgaria (the first EU country on South Stream's way), the announced a pipeline to Turkey, the so-called "Turkish Stream" was to be built instead.
Talks between Ankara and Moscow on Turkish Stream, however, were virtually brought to a halt by diplomatic tensions over the downing of a fighter bomber and also by disagreement over gas discounts for Turkey.
"Such a project as South Stream... does not exist," TASS quotes Peskov as saying following reports in both Bulgarian and Russian media of intense political and diplomatic activity aimed at reviving the project.
"The initiator of the project's termination was not the Russian side."
Peskov has also pointed to Russian energy giant Gazprom's move to sign a memorandum of understanding with Greek and Italian companies on the deliveries of gas under to Italy the Black Sea via Greece and "third countries".
Some experts have already described the memorandum as a third attempt at launching a new Black Sea gas pipeline.
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