RosUkrEnergo, a natural gas trader half owned by Gazprom, said on Tuesday it remains the only company supplying gas to Ukraine, as talk of removing gas intermediaries gained momentum in Kyiv, according to RIA Novosti.

Earlier in the day Ukraine`s government ordered the Foreign Ministry and national gas company Naftogaz to start talks on direct gas supplies from Russia, bypassing RosUkrEnergo. The country`s prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, has pledged to remove "corrupt" intermediary firms from the country`s gas deals and to raise transit fees.

The Swiss-registered trader said in a statement: "RosUkrEnergo AG is continuing to carry out the current contract for gas supplies to Ukraine diligently, on time and in full.

This was the case in November and December 2007, as well as in January."

"No other company is currently supplying natural gas to Ukraine," RosUkrEnergo said.

The firm transports Turkmen and Russian gas to Ukraine. It has been Ukraine`s sole supplier since the start of 2006, when Moscow and Kiev resolved their pricing dispute, which led to a brief cut-off of supplies affecting Europe-bound exports.

The bulk of Russia`s gas supplies to the European Union, which account for one quarter of the bloc`s demand, runs through Ukraine.