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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

EU Prods Ukraine After Pipeline Blast

BRUSSELS -- The European Commission called on Ukraine to upgrade its pipelines after an explosion Monday destroyed a 30-meter section of the trunk pipeline that carries Russian gas to Europe.

"A similar accident occurred in the same section of the same pipeline in 2001," Ferran Tarradellas Espuny, spokesman for energy commissioner Andris Piebalgs, told reporters Tuesday.

"The commission considered that additional proof that Ukrainian networks -- or at least part of the network of pipelines supplying gas to the European Union -- needs to be overhauled," he said.

Piebalgs said none of the EU's 27 member states had reported shortages in supply as a result of the blast. The commission was still seeking more information on what sparked the explosion.

Gazprom said flows of gas were unaffected by the blast.

"The explosion shows that the problem of security of energy supplies to Europe is directly linked to the problem of the sufficiency and the quality of Ukraine's reserve capacities," said Leonid Grigoryev, head of the Institute for Energy and Finance in Moscow.

"Is everything all right with them in Ukraine? This is the key question. Where is Ukraine's report on the condition of its gas pipeline system?" he said.

The future of the Ukrainian gas pipeline is in doubt anyway because of Russia's desire to escape what President Vladimir Putin has called "parasite" transit nations.