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Ukraine warns over 'gross interference' by Russian forces at gas compressor station

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By Reuters

– Ukraine’s gas transit operator said on Friday it was worried by reports of “gross interference” by Russian forces occupying a gas compressor station, and issued a new warning over supplies to Europe.

The Novopskov compressor station in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine has been occupied by Russian forces and separatist fighters since soon after Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.

Ukrainian gas pipeline operator OGTSU said at the time that the arrival of Russian troops could threaten gas supplies to Europe.

OGTSU voiced new concern in a statement on Friday, citing reports of “gross interference by representatives of the Russian Federation and illegal armed groups under their control … in operational work and technological processes of gas transportation” through Novopskov.

“We call on the aggressor’s representatives to refrain from further pressure on OGTSU employees and interference in the CS (compressor station) operations,” OGTSU said in a statement posted online.

“Otherwise, in the case of a loss of operational control, OGTSU will be forced to stop the operation of this facility to keep the integrity and safe operation of the Ukrainian GTS (gas transmission system.”

Moscow has said it guaranteed the safety of all operations and equipment at Novopskov.

OGTSU said that disconnecting the compressor station would mean no transit of gas through the nearby Sokhranivka gas metering station. Almost a third of gas supplies to Europe from Sokhranivka pass through Novopskov, it said.

Some 41.6 billion cubic metres (bcm) of Russian gas was transported through Ukraine to Europe in 2021, making it a key supply route, although that was down 25% on the year before as Moscow looks for alternatives.