In the first five months of this year, the Russian energy company Gazprom delivered a good quarter less gas to countries outside the former Soviet Union than in the same period last year.

From January to May, 61 billion cubic meters were exported, Gazprom announced on Wednesday in the online service Telegram.

That was 27.6 percent or 23.2 billion cubic meters of gas less than a year earlier.

Gazprom added that gas supplies to China through the Power of Siberia pipeline increased over the same period.

However, the energy company did not give any figures on this.

In Europe, Gazprom recently lost several customers.

The background is that Russia's President Vladimir Putin had asked buyers of Russian gas from "unfriendly countries" - including EU member states - to pay for their gas in rubles.

Deliveries to Poland, Bulgaria, Finland and the Netherlands have already been stopped.

EU countries are currently trying to reduce their dependence on Russian energy.

However, there is no agreement on a possible natural gas embargo, since several member states are heavily dependent on Russian energy supplies.