Bratislava - The Czech Republic is prepared for a possible disruption in supplies of Russian gas via Ukraine and Slovakia, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka told today journalists in Bratislava where he attended the European Nuclear Forum.
But he said he believes that a halt in gas supplies from Russia to Ukraine will not influence transit of the commodity and affect European clients of Russian gas giant Gazprom.
"When supplies from Russia were stopped, it does not mean that supplies to countries in the European Union should be automatically suspended," Sobotka said.
Gazprom interrupted gas supplies to Ukraine today after Kiev had failed to pay money it owes to it for delivered gas by a set deadline.
After talks between Ukraine and Russia had failed, Gazprom demands advance payments for gas from Ukraine.
Sobotka said the Czech Republic's National Security Council discussed the evaluation or risks concerning gas supplies in the past weeks already.
"Our country is prepared (...) for the possibility that (Russian) gas, destined for European customers, would start to disappear during transit via Ukraine for some reason, that it would not get to Slovakia and further to the Czech Republic," Sobotka said.
Sobotka repeated today that the gas reserves which the Czech Republic stores in underground tanks will last for about three months.
The Czech Republic is connected to alternative routes through which it can obtain gas, he said.
Sobotka also said the Czech Republic is ready to help Slovakia, to which Russian gas is delivered via Ukraine, if necessary.
Sobotka attended the European Nuclear Forum together with Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico and European Commissioner Guenther Oettinger.