TurkStream gas pipeline is set to become fully operational by the end of 2019, according to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday.
The TurkStream project is an export gas pipeline consisting of two 930-km (577.8-mile) lines each with a capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters.
The pipeline is set to cross beneath the Black Sea from Russia to Turkey and also further extend to Turkey's borders with neighboring countries.
TurkStream's first line is intended for gas supplies to Turkish consumers, while the second is to supply gas to south and southeastern Europe.
Russian gas giant Gazprom is exploring different options regarding further transportation of the TurkStream gas to Europe, Putin told Serbia's dailies Politika and Vecernje Novosti prior to his visit to Belgrade.
"One of the options is to transport fuel via Bulgaria, Serbia, and Hungary to the gas hub in Baumgarten, Austria. In this case, Serbia will not only use Russian gas but also facilitate its transit. This will greatly benefit the Serbian economy, help create new jobs and strengthen energy security in your country and, more broadly, in central and southeastern Europe," he said.
A final decision will be made depending on the position of the European Union.
Russia needs guarantees "that the plans to extend the TurkStream will not be thwarted by an arbitrary political decision on the part of Brussels," he said.
By Elena Teslova in Moscow