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Putin mocks US-backed gas pipeline project

MOSCOW (Thomson Financial) – President Vladimir Putin today mocked a US-backed plan to build a gas pipeline to Europe that would bypass Russia as he concluded a deal with Hungary on a rival project.

‘There’s always an alternative but it’s worse than cooperation with Russia. You can build two pipelines, you can build three. The question is what you pump through them,’ Putin told reporters after the agreement was signed.

‘It’s very clear that the project we are proposing can be realised and has supplies guaranteed. If someone wants to dig up the ground and build a pipeline — go ahead, we don’t mind,’ he said.

Putin was referring to Nabucco, a plan supported by the European Union and the US to build a pipeline from gas-rich ex-Soviet Central Asian states to Europe via Turkey and thereby skirting Russia.

Russia’s own plan to build a pipeline under the Black Sea to Bulgaria and on towards Austria and Italy got a further boost on Thursday when Hungary became the latest country after Bulgaria and Serbia to sign up to the project.


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