“We do not wish any kind of crisis this winter. I am absolutely responsible when I claim that no crisis will occur due to Russia’s fault. We have enough gas to satisfy both our own needs and the needs of our clients in Europe and Asia,” Putin told a press conference after meeting Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic and President Tomislav Nikolic.
He said that Russia would react to “any attempt by our Ukrainian partners to take gas from the pipes intended for export without authorization, just like in 2008.”
Putin said that he hoped the problem would be resolved during the Asia-Europe summit where he will meet a number of European leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian President Giorgio Napolitano.
Putin stressed that transit risks would be reduced by building the planned gas pipeline South Stream that would bring Russian gas to Europe across the Black Sea, avoiding Ukraine.
However, he said construction of this pipeline is linked with political issues.
“The South Stream cannot be realized one-sidedly. It is like love, it can be a happy one only if both sides wish to develop relations. We cannot build alone a pipeline worth several billion euros, if our partners are not sure they need it or not,” Putin said.
He said similar dilemmas existed during the construction of the North Stream across Baltic countries, but that clients in those countries are now satisfied with the project.