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Russia could supply gas to Europe bypassing Ukraine - analyst

MOSCOW. March 5 (Interfax) - Russia could begin gas supplies to Europe bypassing Ukraine to fill European gas terminals in order to prevent a recurrence of the recent "gas war", Alexander Rahr, spokesman for the Foreign Policy Council of Germany, told Interfax on Thursday.

"It would be nice if Russia began exporting gas to Europe through subsidiary pipelines via Belarus and Turkey, filling European gas terminals in order to cushion the blow if Russia suspends gas supply to Ukraine," Rahr said.

"Most sources say Ukraine is on the brink of state bankruptcy," he claimed.

Europe's position is "if Ukraine does not pay, Russia should give gas free of charge because Europe pays for it," the analyst said.

"I am afraid we might again end up being dragged into an information war with black PR as it happened in early January," Rahr concluded.

Earlier, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced at a government meeting on Thursday that the latest developments in Kyiv were undermining trust in Ukraine as a business partner. He threatened to cut off gas to Ukraine unless it paid for the gas that had already been supplied.

Gazprom later confirmed a statement by Naftogaz Ukrainy that the February supplies were fully paid off on Thursday.