Ukraine transported 55.7 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Europe in the past five months, up 26 percent compared with the same period of last year, the country`s gas transit firm Ukrtransgaz said Monday, according to Xinhua.

    Ukraine sits on the main transit route for Russia`s gas exports to Europe, where a quarter of its gas needs is supplied by Russia.

    "The increase was mainly due to a growth in Russian energy company Gazprom`s gas exports to Europe in order to meet the demand of its customers," Ukrtransgaz said in a statement.

    Ukraine and Russia had several disputes over gas prices and supply in recent years, which briefly affected the EU in 2006, when Russia cut supplies.

    Ukraine`s state energy firm Naftogaz signed a 2008 supply deal with Russia`s energy company Gazprom in April, after weeks of wrangling over Ukraine`s debt and another supply cut at the beginning of March.

    The capacity of the Ukrainian gas transportation system allows the transit of 142.5 billion cubic meters to European countries a year.