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Russia wants to continue gas transit through Ukraine – energy ministry

Russia wants to continue gas transit through Ukraine – energy ministry
Moscow wants to sign a new gas transit deal with Ukraine after 2019, when the current contract with the country expires, Russia’s deputy energy minister has said.

“We expect that, to some extent, we will be able to reach an agreement with Ukraine on the transit of gas... If this does not happen in May, it will probably happen in October,” Anatoly Yanovsky told reporters on Monday. The official added he has no doubt the agreement will be reached one way or another.

The next round of talks on the matter are to be held in May and another trilateral meeting between Russia, Ukraine, and the EU can be held in September-October 2019, according to Yanovsky.

The statement comes shortly after the CEO of Ukrainian state gas firm Naftogaz Andrey Kobolev claimed that Russian energy giant Gazprom began informing its partners of its plans to stop the transit starting 2020.

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Kiev has long claimed that Moscow plans to stop the gas transit through Ukraine, depriving the country of its gas transit revenues. The current contract expires at the end of this year.

Moscow has repeatedly rebuffed Kiev’s claims, with Russian President Vladimir Putin saying that the country wants to keep the transit and can prolong the contract with Kiev. Last week, Alexey Miller, Chairman of Gazprom’s Management Committee, stressed that the company is ready to renew the document and also start direct gas imports to the Ukrainian market, which could reduce energy prices for locals.

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Fears that Moscow plans to bypass Ukraine have triggered an avalanche of criticism against another Russia-led energy project – the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that stretches under the Baltic Sea. However, the pipeline cannot replace the transit through the country, Nord Stream 2 spokesman Jens Mueller said, adding that the pipeline will provide additional supplies.

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