The Ukrainian president denied on Tuesday that Kiev was blocking Russian gas transit to Europe or stealing gas, following a failure by Russia to make a test delivery through Ukraine, RIA Novosti reported.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso by telephone that Kiev was blocking the transit of Russian gas after Gazprom gave the go-ahead on Tuesday morning to resume pumping gas via Ukraine but no gas got through to Europe.
"Ukraine has been and will be a reliable transit country, and it has not taken a single step to block Russian gas deliveries to the European Union," President Viktor Yushchenko said.
The move to resume gas supplies to Europe was made after Russia, Ukraine and the EU signed a deal on Monday allowing the presence of international monitors at Ukrainian and Russian gas transportation facilities to oversee gas transit.
Valentin Zemlyansky, a spokesman for Ukrainian energy company Naftogaz, cited Russia`s "unacceptable transit conditions" as the reason for blocking its natural gas deliveries.
"Ukraine has not tapped a single cubic meter of gas either in 2009 or 2008," Yushchenko said.