Russia cut off natural gas supplies to Ukraine on Thursday after last-ditch talks on a 2009 contract failed late on Wednesday, but increased shipments to European states.
"Russian gas is being supplied to us in full. We are in constant contact with our Russian and Ukrainian partners and are monitoring pressure sensors along the entire route of the pipeline from the Siberia to East Europe. All the systems are working," Helmut Roloff said in an interview with the Russian round-the-clock TV channel Vesti 24.
Roloff said Germany had taken precaution measures in the event that natural gas supplies to the country were reduced.
Gazprom said on Wednesday Ukraine's national oil and gas company Naftogaz had threatened in a letter addressed to the Russian gas giant that it could start confiscating Russian gas meant for European Union consumers after January 1, if no new contract was agreed for 2009.
The EU urged on Thursday both sides to engage in further talks. "All existing commitments to supply and transit must be honored," the EU president, the Czech Republic and the European Commission said in a joint statement.
Frequent gas disputes between Moscow and Kiev have raised concerns in Europe about the reliability of Russia as a supplier. Ukraine transits about 80% of Russian gas, a major source of revenue for Moscow, bound for the EU. Europe buys a quarter of its gas needs from Gazprom.
A similar dispute between the two ex-Soviet neighbors resulted in a brief cutoff of supplies to Ukraine in 2006, when shortages were reported in some Eastern European countries. Russia accused Ukraine of siphoning off Europe-bound gas