Pipeline operator to stop natural gas flow

Kyiv, May 11 (AP) Ukraine’s natural gas pipeline operator said it would stop Russian shipments through its Novopskov hub in a part of eastern Ukraine controlled by Moscow-backed separatists.

It said the hub handles about a third of the Russian gas passing through the country to Western Europe, although Russia’s state-owned natural gas giant Gazprom put the figure at about a quarter.

The operator, which also complained about interference along the route last month, said it will stop the flow starting Wednesday because of interference from occupying forces, including the apparent siphoning of gas.

It said Russia could reroute affected shipments through Ukraine’s other main hub, Sudzha, in a northern part of the country controlled by Ukraine.

Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said Ukraine’s rerouting request would be technologically impossible and that the company sees no grounds for Ukraine’s decision. (AP)