Ukraine will not reopen the suspended Sokhranovka gas transit route from Russia to European customers until Kyiv obtains control over its gas transit system, the head of the system's operator GTSOU told Reuters on Thursday.

The gas pipeline via that crossing point runs through Ukraine's Luhansk region, part of which has been under control of Russia-backed separatists since 2014. Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.

The gas official, Sergiy Makogon, said in written comments that there was enough capacity for Russian state gas giant Gazprom to deliver all its Europe-bound volumes through the Sudzha transit route, which remains open.

He said Gazprom had been unaware that Moscow-backed separatists in Ukraine's east had started stealing gas transiting Ukraine, which Kyiv said was one of the reasons it announced a "force majeure" on gas flows via Sokhranovka.

(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk Writing by Tom Balmforth Editing by Mark Potter)