Russia and the EU hope to reach a solution with Kiev on gas transit

 The European Union and Russia said on Thursday that they had been drawn to find a solution with the Kiev authorities to extend an existing contract on transit of Russian gas to Europe via Ukraine.

We are ready to extend the contract under existing conditions, "Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said after meeting with European Energy Commissioner Maros Sefkovic.

For his part, the European Commissioner said: "We see that we do not need an alternative plan (..) because we have always reached constructive solutions" in this regard.

The gas transit contract between Russia and Ukraine expires at the end of 2019. The two countries have not reached agreement beyond the end of 2019.

By the end of this year, the German-Russian gas pipeline "Nord Stream 2" and the Turkish-Russian "Turkish Stream Service" are scheduled to enter Ukrainian territory. This would deprive Kiev of an important financial dispute and an effective weapon against Russia.

Washington threatens the opposition to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, with sanctions. The Ukrainian president supports this position and demanded at the end of May new US economic sanctions against Russia.

Moscow hopes that "the new Ukrainian authorities will prove their adoption of a pragmatic approach to the continued transit of gas to their territory after 2019," the Russian minister said, describing US sanctions as "unacceptable".

"The talks can only succeed if we seek a settlement," he said.

The volume of Russian gas transit to Ukraine has declined significantly in 2011 with the opening of the gas pipeline Nord Stream 1, which links Russia to Germany across the Baltic. The fall was due to the Russian-Ukrainian "gas wars" series that caused confusion in Europe in the 2000s.

Russia has repeatedly stressed its readiness to resume gas transit through Ukraine even after the new gas lines start operating.


 

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