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Russia Considering 'Direct Supplies' Of Energy To Greece

Russia says it is examining the possibility of direct supplies of energy to Greece in an effort to bolster the country's foundering economy.

In a statement on July 12, Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak said that Russia "intends to support the restoration of Greece's economy by broadening cooperation in the energy sector."

"In connection with this, we are studying the possibility of organizing direct supplies of energy resources to the Greek state in the nearest future," he said.

Greece's dire financial situation has raised doubts about the ability of state-run Greek companies to pay for imports of oil and natural gas.

Greece buys nearly all of its gas from Russia, which delivers it by pipeline via Ukraine and the Balkans.

With ties deeply strained over Ukraine, Western governments are watching closely to see whether Russia, despite its own economic troubles, will seek to gain influence in Greece by throwing it a financial lifeline.

Novak's statement comes as Greece seeks negotiations on a bailout package that would avert a possible exit from the eurozone.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and RIA