MOSCOW, April 17 (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday it would not be possible for Europe to stop buying Russian gas and that he was hopeful a deal could be reached with Ukraine on gas supply.
"We sell gas in European countries which have around 30-35 percent of their gas balance covered by supplies from Russia. Can they stop buying Russian gas? In my opinion it is impossible," he said.
Putin said that transit via Ukraine is the most dangerous element in Europe's gas supply system. (Reporting by Christian Lowe, Vladimir Soldatkin and Polina Devitt, writing by Megan Davies)