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Russia: Ukraine Diverted Natural Gas Worth $25 Million


Moscow charges that Ukraine has illegally diverted 25 million dollars' worth of natural gas from a Russian pipeline that crosses Ukrainian territory as it supplies fuel to other European countries.

Russia's state-run gas monopoly Gazprom says Ukraine has siphoned off 100 million cubic meters of natural gas intended for Moscow's European customers. Authorities in Kiev say there has been no theft.

Officials say the natural gas Ukraine is using either has been imported from Turkmenistan or pumped from the country's own underground reserves. Gazprom, in turns, asserts it can prove there was a theft of Russian gas supplies.

Reports of sharply diminished natural-gas flow through Russia's pipeline are coming in today from Moscow's customers throughout eastern and central Europe.

Austria, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland say pressure in their gas supply lines has dropped from 25 to 40 percent.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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