Russia is ready to continue talks with Ukraine on creating a consortium to manage Ukraine's gas transit system, Russia's energy minister said Sunday, RIA Novosti reported.

Viktor Khristenko said Russia and Ukraine had already agreed to set up the consortium but a legislative document on the deal had been delayed by the political turmoil in Ukraine's parliament in the wake of the March 26 elections.

"Unfortunately, no decision followed on an acceptable and law-based management mechanism for Ukraine's gas transportation system for domestic reasons," Khristenko said, adding that it would be easier for Russia to find understanding when the situation in Ukraine becomes stable.

Khristenko said the agreements had been signed to provide reliable gas supplies to European consumers.

"As suppliers, we are interested to know about the condition and potential of Ukraine's gas transportation system in order to ensure reliable gas supplies to our European customers," he said, adding that Russia was prepared to develop Ukraine's gas transit system that, he said, had been originally designed for gas supplies to Europe.

The consortium is currently working on a $560-mln Bogorodchany-Uzhgorod pipeline project in western Ukraine that will enable Russia to increase its natural gas shipments to Europe by 19 bln cubic meters a year.


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