Russia does not intend to use the gas issue to punish Ukraine, presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said.
Journalists asked Peskov during a conference call how he would respond to claims that if Hungary starts buying Russian gas shipped via a longer route than the Ukrainian one, it proves that Russia is using gas as a weapon to punish Kyiv.
"'No, it is not true'. This is how we would respond to these people," Peskov said.
"Russia has never used, is not using now and is not going to use natural gas in order to punish someone," he said. Rather, "Russia uses natural gas exclusively for the benefit of the people of our country in order to raise Russian citizens' wellbeing and on a purely commercial basis," he said.
"This use of natural gas also fully meets the interests of gas consumers in Europe and also countries that provide gas transit capacity, if this transit is economically profitable and commercially feasible," Peskov said.