Lithuanian officials says their country is ready to start pumping gas to Ukraine from its new LNG terminal but that Russia was stubbornly blocking the move by excercising its control over Belarusian gas pipeline infrastructure.

Lithuanian Energy Minister Rokas Masiulis said: "We asked Belarus's transmission system operator to let our gas through. The system is operated by Gazprom. We received a negative reply, that it's impossible to transport the gas. We don't agree with that."

Lithuania opened a floating LNG terminal last year, reducing its dependence on buying all its gas from Russian state-owned oil giant Gazprom and enabling the Baltic country in January to start exporting LNG, to Estonia.

Ukraine has been trying to reduce its dependence on Russian gas, even before its conflict with Russia over eastern Ukraine broke out last year.
Ukraine, which used to cover most of its gas needs with supplies from Russia, started buying gas from the European Union in late 2013 in a bid to reduce bills and its energy dependence on Moscow.

About 50 percent of its gas imports now come from Slovakia, Poland and Hungary. The later resumed exports to Ukraine earlier this month.