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Putin pledges that Russia will comply with obligations on gas transit through Ukraine, says arrangement may continue past 2024

Putin pledges that Russia will comply with obligations on gas transit through Ukraine, says arrangement may continue past 2024
Moscow will fully comply with its commitments on natural gas transit through Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said, signaling that the transit might continue past the 2024 deadline when the current contract expires.

Speaking at a news conference after talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Kremlin on Friday, he confirmed the country’s commitment to the existing gas transit deal with Moscow's close neighbour. 

“The issue was raised during the negotiations, I assured [Merkel] that we will fully comply with all our obligations, we are doing this now and will continue to do so,” Putin said.

Merkel, who is set to depart from office this year, said she urged the president to extend the Ukraine transit deal past the 2024 deadline, when it’s set to expire.

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Putin said the issue of transit is “purely commercial,” and the new Nord Stream 2 pipeline beats the old Ukrainian transit system, being 2,000km shorter and compliant with modern ecological standards. Also, operating the new pipeline is expected to be “significantly cheaper” than transiting gas through Ukraine.

“Still, we are ready to transit gas through Ukrainian territory after 2024,” Putin said, adding that the route will retain some value, particularly for supplying southern Europe.

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