RUSSIA COULD BUILD
Russia might direct a new pipe to Bulgaria functioning as a ramification of its planned gas pipeline to Turkey, President Vladimir Putin has hinted.
Speaking at a press conference after his meeting with Hungarian officials on Tuesday, he added such a project might be carried out if it could rely on EU funding.
He added Russia was ready to consider, together with is partners, "alternatives" to South Stream, but would not renounce cooperation with Turkey on the other project and would be unable to return to South Stream in its previous form, according to TASS news agency.
Russia scrapped in December the South Stream pipeline pumping gas into Central Europe through Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary, citing EU opposition and Bulgarian reluctance to issue the necessary construction permits. President Putin then said energy giant Gazprom would build a pipeline to Turkey, the so-called Turkish Stream, using most of South Stream's planned route.
While in Budapest, where his visit resulted in new agreements in energy cooperation, Putin added that Moscow could in no way return to South Stream following the developments of last summer.
"We are not intending to punish anyone or to be offended to anyone... if this is logically possible, we are ready to reach Bulgaria after [we build "Turkish Stream"] - the European Commission has already asked us to do so. We are also ready to reach Greece," the Bulgarian News Agency quotes Putin as saying.
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