Russia is trying hard to discredit Ukraine by sending natural gas bound for Europe on a technically "unacceptable" transit route over Ukraine`s pipeline system, Ukrainian energy adviser Bohdan Sokolovski said on Tuesday, Xinhua reported.

"Russia shipped natural gas along a route that would require Ukraine to cut domestic consumers out before it can deliver gas to the Balkans," Sokolovski told reporters.

He said a gas entry point on the Russian border and a gas pumping station near the Romanian border where Russia wants its gas delivered are not linked by an export pipeline. That means Ukraine has to cut service to its eastern industrial regions first.

Russia`s state-controlled gas monopoly Gazprom started pumping gas to Europe on Tuesday morning with observers from the European Union (EU) monitoring the process at a cross-border gas distribution station.

But then Russia accused Ukraine of blocking the transit of gas.

Russia cut off gas supplies to Ukraine on Jan. 1 after the two sides failed to reach a new deal for 2009 and resolve debt issues. Tensions were built up when Russia shut off all gas supplies to Europe via Ukraine on Jan. 7, accusing Ukraine of stealing gas.

Ukraine on Monday signed a new deal on monitoring Russian gas transit to Europe, removing conditions that Russia had opposed and clearing the final obstacle for Russia to resume gas supplies to Europe.



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