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Putin Says Russia Hasn't Abandoned Turkstream, South Stream Projects

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow has not abandoned either the South Stream or Turkstream gas pipeline projects but needs to see a clear position on them from Europe.

Putin made the comments on June 7 after talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"There are certain political difficulties with Turkey - this is widely known. But we have not irreversibly cancelled any of these projects - neither South Stream nor Turkstream," Putin said.

Russia froze talks on Turkstream, which aims to increase Russian gas exports to southern Europe via Turkey, after Turkey shot down a Sukhoi attack jet near the Syrian-Turkish border last November.

It set aside South Stream, which would have also supplied Russian gas to southern Europe, in late 2014 because of objections from the European Union on competition grounds.

The dispute between Brussels and Moscow over the South Stream project followed Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and the imposition of Western economic sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine conflict.

"We only need a clear position from the European Commission," Putin said. "Clear, understandable and unequivocal. So far there does not exist any, on either of these projects."

Based on reporting by Reuters and TASS