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Negligence Blamed for Ukraine's Gas Pipeline Explosion

Ukraine's top prosecutor says negligence caused Monday's rupture of the natural gas pipeline that supplies Russian gas to Europe.

Prosecutor General Svyatoslav Piskun said Tuesday that sinking ground led to a break in the pipeline. He said officials should have been able to spot the natural changes and shore up the pipeline. He said a similar blast occurred in the same location in 2003.

The explosion south of Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, near the village of Luka, tore up about 30 meters of the pipeline and hurled debris.

The blast raises concerns about gas shortages in Europe. Russia's state monopoly, Gazprom, and Ukraine's transit company, Ukrtransgaz, assured clients that deliveries would continue uninterrupted.

Ukraine is one of the main transit countries for Russian natural gas from Siberia to European consumers.

European leaders have been concerned about stability of gas supplies from Russia since early 2006 when Moscow temporarily cut off deliveries through Ukraine due to a pricing dispute with Kyiv.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.