Russian gas transit volume to Europe via Ukraine has fallen by half to 200 million cubic meters from the planned 400 million cu m in the past two days, Ukraine's Naftogaz energy firm Deputy Board Chairman Vadim Chuprun said on Friday.

"Yesterday short deliveries [from Russia] amounted to 180 million cubic meters... while today they stood at 200 million cu m," Chuprun said.

The shortfall in deliveries was linked with lower demand from European consumers.

"It may be because Europe does not need such volumes now," Chuprun added.

Russia currently exports nearly 80 percent of its gas supplies to Europe through Ukraine, but Russian gas giant Gazprom has repeatedly said Kiev's importance in gas transit will be minimal after the South Stream pipeline comes on stream in 2015 and the new North Stream pipeline's capacity is increased.

Official representative of Gazprom Sergey Kupriyanov confirmed the reduction of gas volume transit via Ukraine, saying it is the first result of the redistribution of export volumes in favor of Belarus and new sea gas pipelines.
"These are just first results and we are at the beginning of a long way on redistribution of gas transit volumes in favor of our subsidiary company Beltruns and new sea routes," Kupriyanov said. 

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