The Russian president Vladimir Putin has raised the possibility of extending the Blue Stream gas pipeline into southern Europe during an official visit to Budapest.

According to a report from the Itar-Tass news agency, President Putin said that Austria, Hungary, Greece and Italy had all shown an interest in the possible extension of the pipeline, which currently connects Russia with Turkey.

Turkish partners and us are considering the extension of this project into south Europe, and our partners in that area have shown interests, President Putin was reported as saying by the news agency. We do not rule out and think it quite possible for Hungary to join in.

President Putin also sought to reassure European states about security of gas supplies. No one in Europe should doubt the reliability of energy supplies from Russia, he said. Our recent efforts have been targeted for building up the reliability of our contract commitments.