(RIA Novosty) Ukraine's tapping of Russian natural gas has raised concerns not only among customers in Western Europe, but also among the organizers of the Olympic Winter Games in Italy, a popular Russian daily reported Wednesday.

Izvestia cited Italian energy giant ENI's sources as saying that Italy would face a shortfall in gas, including for the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, if deliveries from Russia, Italy's main supplier of natural gas, were not restored in full. The paper said the Italians were worried about whether or not there would be enough gas for the Olympic flame, a symbol for any Olympic Games.

According to the daily, the four-meter-high flame requires 8,000 cubic meters of gas per hour, with an estimated total consumption of 2.8 million cu m during the games, which will run from February 10 through 26. The Organizing Committee of the XX Olympic Winter Games and its contractor Italgas said the shortfall in gas supplies should not affect the Olympic Flame. However, the paper said they did not rule out shutting it down after the opening ceremony if the situation deteriorated and the country's authorities were forced to sacrifice the sacred flame for domestic needs.


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