MOSCOW, May 20 (Reuters) - The Russian government on Monday instructed state-owned gas giant Gazprom not to pay dividends for 2023, according to a decree published on its website, after the company reported its first annual loss since 1999.

Gazprom's shares fell by more than 5.5% in Moscow to reach their lowest level since Oct. 10, 2022, soon after its exports were damaged by mysterious blasts which ruptured three of four Nord Stream undersea pipelines to Germany.

The St. Petersburg-based company sustained a loss of some $7 billion for 2023 due to plummeting gas sales to Europe amid severe political fallout over the conflict in Ukraine.

Europe was Gazprom's largest sales market until 2022, when Russia's conflict with Ukraine led to a decline in Gazprom's gas supplies.

Russia supplied a total of around 63.8 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas to Europe by various routes in 2022, according to Gazprom data and Reuters calculations. The volume decreased further, by 55.6%, to 28.3 bcm last year.

That compares with a peak of 200.8 bcm that Gazprom pumped in 2018 to the EU and other countries, such as Turkey. (Writing by Felix Light and Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Leslie Adler)