Ukraine ‘open’ to Russian gas transit – Slovakia
Ukraine may allow Russian natural gas to be piped through its territory beyond 2024 when the current deal governing transit is due to expire, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico has said.
In a video posted on Facebook after a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Denis Shmigal on Wednesday, Fico said a new deal would benefit both Ukraine and Slovakia, as well as a number of other EU countries that still rely on Russian energy.
“Ukraine is open to the transit of Russian gas to Europe after 2024. Work on the details of the agreement may be completed in the near future. The very fact that the transit can continue is excellent news… That means that we in Slovakia will also be able to continue the transit of this gas, which will also benefit Austria and Italy,” Fico said.
Kiev has been reluctant to renew the deal and said on Thursday that it does “not intend to negotiate with the Russians” for an extension. However, the Ukrainian government admitted that it “can negotiate with a European country on the use of its gas transportation network” for further deliveries, Interfax-Ukraine quoted the government’s press service as saying.
The transit line through Ukraine and the European arm of the TurkStream pipeline are now the only two remaining conduits for piped Russian gas to reach Central and Western Europe. The current five-year transit contract between Russia and Ukraine was signed in 2019. Under the deal, Russian energy giant Gazprom agreed to deliver 65 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas to the EU through Ukraine in 2020, and 40 bcm annually between 2021 and 2024.
However, actual delivery volumes have been running short of the agreed amount after in May 2022 Ukraine closed the key pumping station at Sokhranovka, which had handled about a third of the Russian gas flowing through the country. Currently, only the station at Sudzha remains in operation.
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