Russia's gas export monopoly Gazprom will not abandon its plans to implement the South Stream gas pipeline project, even if it reaches agreement with Ukraine on operating its gas transportation system, Gazprom export head Alexander Medvedev said on Wednesday, according to RIA Novosti.

At their ongoing gas price talks, Moscow and Kiev have been recently discussing the possibility of creating a joint venture to operate the Ukrainian gas transportation system, a core transit route for Russian natural gas supplies to Europe.

"Even if we take into account the Nord Stream, the South Stream, the Nabucco (western-backed rival project) and liquefied natural gas, all the same, the shortage of gas supplies to Europe will be some 15-20 billion cubic meters," Medvedev told reporters.

Russia plans to launch the South Stream pipeline, intended to carry Russian natural gas to Europe along the Black Sea bed, in 2015. The pipeline will transport up to 63 billion cubic meters of gas to central and southern Europe, diversifying Russian gas routes away from transit countries such as Ukraine.

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