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Russian Gas Exports To Europe Increased 8 Percent In 2015

Russian natural gas exports to Europe rose by nearly eight percent in 2015 despite tensions with the West over Ukraine, Russian gas giant Gazprom announced January 11.

Aleksei Miller, head of the state-run firm, said it exported 159.4 billion cubic meters of gas to states that were not previously part of the Soviet Union -- mostly nations in Europe -- about 11.8 billion cubic meters more than 2014.

Supplies to Germany rose by 17.1 percent to a record 45.3 billion cubic meters, he said, while deliveries to France were up by36.8 percent, to Italy by 12.6 percent, and Britain by 10.2 percent.

The increases came despite sanctions imposed on Moscow by the European Union in retaliation for Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014 and backing of separatists in Ukraine's civil conflict.

The EU claims to have made progress lessening dependence on Russian gas. Gazprom, however, said that the rise in exports was due to a drop in the volume of gas produced in Europe -- a trend the company said would continue.

Based on reporting by AFP and TASS