MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak dismissed Ukraine's claims that Moscow plans to block gas transit to Europe, saying on Wednesday that the assertions are groundless.

His comments were published after Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said earlier on Wednesday Kiev knew of Russian plans to halt gas flows this winter to Europe.

Novak said in a statement that Russia will put forth "maximum efforts" to fulfill gas contract obligations to European importers regardless of political issues.

He also said Russia is open for "constructive dialogue" on energy with interested partners including Ukraine.


(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin and Katya Golubkova, editing by Thomas Grove)