Russian President Vladimir Putin was in the Siberian city of Yakutsk on September 1 to launch the construction of a new natural gas pipeline to China.
Chinese Deputy Premier Zhang Gaoli also was to attend the ceremony where the first sections of the "Sila Sibiri" (Siberia Power) pipeline are being welded together.
Speaking to university students in Yakutsk ahead of the pipeline’s inauguration, Putin said a “new network of gas pipelines” in Russia’s Far East and in Siberia will be linked to Russia’s European pipeline system.
He said that would give Russia the ability to redirect gas exports to China or to the West, “depending on the world market situation.”
European nations have stepped up efforts to decrease their dependence on Russian gas following Moscow's annexation of Crimea and what Kyiv says is Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Based on reporting by Interfax, ITAR-TASS, and Xinhua