MOSCOW, March 12 (Reuters) - Russia’s Stroitransgaz said on Thursday it will build a gas pipeline across Macedonia, which could eventually be used as part of a route to supply Europe with Russian gas via Turkey.
Stroitransgaz is owned by Gennady Timchenko, an ally of President Vladimir Putin, who was among the first businessmen to be placed under sanctions by the United States in the Crimea crisis. A spokesman for Stroitransgaz said the sanctions would not hamper the project in Macedonia, which is not a member of the European Union.
The 96.6 km (60 miles) Negotino-Klecovce gas pipeline will cross Macedonia from near the Greek border in the south up to the vicinity of the Serbian border in the north. Stroitransgaz will build 61 km of the link by June 2016.
Moscow plans to build an undersea pipeline to Turkey, a replacement for the cancelled South Stream project via Bulgaria. The details of an onward route from Turkey through Greece have not been finalised.
Stroitransgaz, 63 percent owned by Timchenko, led a consortium which planned to build South Stream.
It said it will carry out its work as part of the repayment of the outstanding debt between the former Soviet Union and the former Yugoslavia, of which Macedonia was a member. The cost of the entire project stands at $75.7 million. (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin, editing by William Hardy)