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Blast hits key Ukraine gas pipeline

A blast hit a major Ukrainian pipeline on Thursday used to transport Russian natural gas to European clients, Ukrainian police officials said.

KIEV: A blast hit a major Ukrainian pipeline on Thursday used to transport Russian natural gas to European clients, Ukrainian police officials said.

The Urengoi-Pomary-Uzhgorod Pipeline, also known as the Trans-Siberian Pipeline, was damaged in the northeastern Lokhvytsia region, the local police department said, adding that no one appeared to be injured in the incident.

Ukraine's state gas transport company Ukrtransgaz said the explosion did not appear to affect the westward flow of Russian gas.

State emergencies service said the explosion appeared to have resulted from either a puncture or the loss of pressure in one of the pipeline's seals.

It added that two small blasts preceded the gas leak, which produced a 30-metre flame.

The 4,500-kilometre link connects gas fields with western Ukraine with Russia's western and central European clients.

The Russian section of the pipeline is operated by state energy giant Gazprom, and the Ukrainian segment by Ukrtransgaz.

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