KIEV, Sept 29 (Reuters) - Ukraine has increased its daily imports of natural gas from European countries to 53.3 million cubic metres (mcm) from around 50 million, Ukrainian state-run gas transport company Ukrtransgaz said on Thursday.
Ukraine, which used to meet its gas needs with imports of Russian gas, has not bought gas directly from Russia since November 2015, importing instead from Europe. Relations between the two nations have suffered since Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Ukraine imports gas mostly from Slovakia. Ukrtransgaz said all facilities were fully loaded and Kiev was receiving more than 40 mcm of gas a day from Slovakia. The rest comes from Poland and Hungary.
The Ukrainian government said this month Kiev would increase its gas stocks to 17 billion cubic metres (bcm) this winter, compared with the 14 bcm initially planned.
Ukraine traditionally accumulates 17-19 bcm of mostly Russian gas in storage to cover domestic consumption and guarantee stable gas transit to Europe once the weather turns cold.
The country of 43 million people had 14.1 bcm of gas stocks as of Sept. 27. (Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Mark Potter)