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Kiev pursuing energy diversification strategy

KIEV, Ukraine, Dec. 9 (UPI) -- An energy company in Ukraine said it was holding discussions on the prospects for a natural gas pipeline from Slovakia despite reports to the contrary.

The European Union supported a measure that would send natural gas through a pipeline in Slovakia to Ukraine. The pipeline would add diversity to a Ukrainian energy sector dependent on Russia.

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The National News Agency of Ukraine published a statement Saturday by energy company Ukrtransgas saying work on a memorandum of understanding with its Slovak counterparts was continuing.

"Ukrtransgas expresses frustration with publication of distorted and unverified information in some journals on the signing of this document," the statement read.

The company said work on the memorandum continues.

The news agency reported Ukrtransgas was responding to a report last week in The Wall Street Journal saying a Ukrainian delegation ignored a signing ceremony for the Slovak project.

Ukraine hosts a gas transmission network that carries most of Russia's natural gas exports to Europe. Russian energy company Gazprom in 2009 cut off the gas to Ukraine because of a contract dispute.

Ukraine is struggling to control protests that erupted in response to a late November decision to suspend efforts to sign free trade and association agreements with the European Union. Kiev said the decision was made to protect its economic ties with Russia.

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