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Russia's energy giant Gazprom is to file a lawsuit
Russia's energy giant Gazprom is to file a lawsuit with the Stockholm Arbitration Court against Ukraine's Naftogaz to guarantee Russian gas deliveries to Europe across Ukraine, the company CEO said on Saturday.

Russia cut off gas supplies to Ukraine on Thursday after last-ditch talks on Kiev's outstanding $2-billion gas debt and a new contract for 2009 failed late on New Year's Eve. Some European countries, including Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania, have said that Russian gas deliveries through the Ukrainian pipeline have fallen.

"The lawsuit will be filed in accordance with the contract dated June 21, 2002, on volumes and conditions of Russian natural gas transits across the territory of Ukraine to European consumers from 2003-2013... I have informed Russian President Dmitry Medvedev of the legal preparations and he has approved the decision. All the necessary documentation will be prepared and sent to Stockholm in the nearest future," Alexei Miller said.

Romania, which gets around 65% of its gas supplies from Russia, said gas flows from Ukraine had fallen by 30-40%, while Polish company Gaz-System registered decreases of 11%. Around 80% of all Russian gas exported to Europe is transited through Ukraine.

Gazprom CEO, Alexei Miller, said at a Gazprom meeting earlier on Saturday that "consumers in Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, Poland and the Balkans had registered unauthorized gas tapping on Ukrainian territory," adding that the company would do everything to ensure additional gas was pumped to Europe.

Ukraine's state-run Naftogaz denied it was siphoning gas and accused Gazprom of cutting gas deliveries to Europe to cause a shortfall.

Frequent gas disputes between Moscow and Kiev have raised concerns in Europe about the reliability of Russia as a supplier. Europe buys a quarter of its gas needs from Gazprom.

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