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UPDATE 1-Russia's Gazprom reports 44% jump in quarterly net profit

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MOSCOW, May 30 (Reuters) - Gazprom reported a 44% jump in first-quarter net income to 536 billion roubles ($8.3 billion) on higher gas sales and prices, the Russian gas producer reported on Thursday, despite a drop in exporting volumes.

Revenue in the January-March quarter rose to 2.29 trillion roubles from 2.14 trillion a year earlier.

Gazprom is a lynchpin of Russia's commodity-reliant economy with its sales accounting for more than 5 percent of the country's $1.6 trillion annual gross domestic product.

Russian gas exports have been increasingly politicized after Moscow annexed Crimea peninsula from Ukraine in 2014. A wider standoff between Russia and the West has also contributed to Moscow's global energy expansion.

Gazprom's sales to Europe account for around two thirds of its total gas sales. The volumes of gas shipped to Europe declined in the first quarter to 62.4 billion cubic meters (bcm) from 71.5 bcm in January-March 2018, the firm said on Thursday.

($1 = 64.9800 roubles) (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin, Anastasia Teterevleva and Maria Grabar Editing by Jason Neely and Edmund Blair)