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Scrap South Stream, Europe says

Pipeline is Russia's answer to European energy security.

By Daniel J. Graeber

BRUSSELS, Sept. 18 (UPI) -- Members of the European Parliament passed a resolution Thursday calling for the cancellation of contracts for Russia's planned South Stream gas pipeline.

Russian energy company Gazprom touts South Stream as a pipeline that would help support European energy security by avoiding geopolitically sensitive territory in Ukraine. Russia meets about a quarter of Europe's gas needs, though the bulk of those supplies run through the Soviet-era transit network in Ukraine.

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Members of the European Parliament passed a resolution Thursday expressing support for the ratification in Kiev of an association agreement with the EU. A cease-fire in eastern Ukraine appears to be holding, the resolution said, but it could break given recent Russian aggressions.

"EU sanctions are just and must be stepped up," the resolution said.

For South Stream, members of Parliament had their reservations, calling on "EU countries to cancel planned energy sector agreements with Russia, including the South Stream gas pipeline."

European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger in June said the South Stream project should be put on hold because it's not in compliance with legislation passed in the EU.

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South Stream has an optimum capacity of 2.2 trillion cubic feet per year.

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