Ukraine aims to increase by 7% the amount of natural gas it ships from Russia to further west in Europe, seeking to increase revenue as demand for the fuel grows, said Ukrainian Fuel and Energy Minister Yuriy Boyko, according to Bloomberg.

„We want to increase transit of Russian gas to the West up to 122 billion cubic meters,” Boyko said today at a press briefing in Kiev. „We shipped this volume four years ago, so we will invest in our gas pipeline system to reach it again.” The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has approved a $280 million loan for rebuilding its pipelines, Boyko said. The ministry will invest its money as well, he said. He gave no details on how much Ukraine expects to spend. Russia supplies a quarter of Europe`s gas, 80% of which is shipped through Ukraine.

Russia cut off gas to Ukraine in the first three days of January last year after Ukraine rejected a demand by OAO Gazprom, Russia`s state-run gas-export monopoly, to quadruple the price Ukraine paid. That led to shortages elsewhere to Europe, including Hungary, Italy, and Germany. Russia wants to reduce its dependence on „transit” countries, including Ukraine and Belarus, to supply Europe, the country`s president, Vladimir Putin, said yesterday. It`s building a pipeline across the Baltic Sea that will connect Russia directly to Germany. „We must be able to offer competitive terms for transit and we must prove that we are a reliable partner for Russia as well as for Europe as competition will be tough,” Boyko said.