Kiev maintains its position that the South Stream pipeline project, designed to pump gas from Russia to Europe bypassing Ukraine, is a threat to Ukraine's national security, the country's energy minister, Yury Boiko, said.
"The South Stream project is a real threat to our national interests, and we will always be against it," Boiko said in an interview with Ukraine's Inter TV channel on Friday.
Russia annually pumps about 100 billion cubic meters of gas to European countries via Ukraine, which makes up 80 percent of its total gas supplies to Europe. The 15.5-billion-euro South Stream pipeline project is designed to cut Russia's dependence on the Ukrainian transit system.
The Ukrainian authorities have repeatedly called on Russia to abandon the South Stream project and cooperate with Ukraine in modernizing its gas pipeline network.
The EU commissioner for energy, Gunter Ettinger, will visit Ukraine in June to witness the official start of the country's pipeline system renovation, Boiko said.
"The more we modernize our gas transportation system, the more we will be open and show our reliability, the less chances South Stream, which is designed to drain our gas transportation system, will have to be implemented," he added.
The modernization of Ukrainian gas pipelines is estimated to cost some $6.5 billion.
Meanwhile, Russian energy giant Gazprom said it would announce the final South Stream pipeline route in summer. Gazprom is considering three routes for the project - through Bulgaria to Serbia, Hungary and Austria, through Bulgaria to Serbia, Hungary, Slovenia, Austria and Italy, and through Bulgaria and Greece to the south of Italy.
KIEV, April 30 (RIA Novosti)