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Bulgarian prime minister orders work to be stopped on Gazprom-led gas pipeline

Bulgaria's prime minister has ordered a halt to construction work on the Gazprom-led South Stream pipeline project planned to bypass Ukraine as a transit country and consolidating Russia's energy grip in Europe.

Plamen Oresharski said after meeting U.S. Sens. John McCain, Christopher Murphy and Ron Johnson on Sunday that he has ordered all work on the disputed project to continue only after consultations with Brussels.

Last week, the European Commission opened an infringement procedure against the Balkan country and asked construction work to be stopped, arguing that Bulgaria hadn't respected EU internal market rules covering the award of public contracts.

"We understand that there are some issues concerning the South Stream pipeline project," McCain said and added that "obviously we want as little Russian involvement as possible."