Russia can't implement the South Stream project because of the European Commission's opposition to it, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday.
Russia is forced to withdraw from South Stream due to the EU’s unwillingness to support the pipeline, and gas flows will be redirected to other customers, Putin said at a joint news conference after talks with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in Ankara.
He also suggested that Bulgaria demanded the EU to redeem its missed benefits relating to the South Stream project.
"Bulgaria would have received as direct budget revenue no less than 400 million euros a year only from transit fees," Putin said.
"Having in mind that we haven't yet received Bulgaria’s permission, we think Russia is unable to continue implementation of that project. I mean that now we have to launch construction of the pipeline section in the Black Sea. We can't begin the construction of the seabed section until we have received Bulgaria’s permission,”
In the current situation, Russia cannot launch South Stream but it is ready to build another pipeline to help Turkey meet its gas needs.
Russia is also ready to build an additional gas hub on Turkey's border with Greece.
"If this idea is considered to be expedient, we can create an additional gas hub for consumers in southern Europe on Turkish territory on the border with Greece,” said Putin, who is on a one-day state visit to Turkey.