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6 Oct, 2021 11:56

Kiev is unreliable partner for transporting gas to West, top Russian lawmaker argues amid row over decision to circumvent Ukraine

Kiev is unreliable partner for transporting gas to West, top Russian lawmaker argues amid row over decision to circumvent Ukraine

The head of Russia’s parliamentary energy committee has warned that Ukraine is an unreliable gas transit partner for both Moscow and the West, arguing its aging Soviet-built pipe network poses serious safety risks for the future.

Speaking as part of the St. Petersburg National Gas Forum on Tuesday, the head of the energy committee in Russia’s State Duma, Pavel Zavalny, told attendees that EU countries would be better off buying supplies that bypass Ukraine, as the country’s Gas Transportation System (GTS) is outdated and deteriorating, which could create issues surrounding reliability and safety in the future.

“The Ukrainian GTS is aging,” he said. “And the failure to make decisions on the future of this system and on its modernization will only reduce reliability and safety,” the parliamentarian said.

Also on rt.com Kiev fuming as Russia begins pumping natural gas to Hungary bypassing Ukraine

The Russian politician also stated that more and more Central and Western European countries are likely to make decisions to choose alternative routes to transport gas that circumvents Ukraine as a result of the country’s alleged dwindling transport standards. The comments come just days after a new deal came into force between Hungary and Russia which will see gas circumvent the GTS system.

In September, Budapest signed a 15-year contract with Russian energy giant Gazprom, agreeing to purchase 4.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually. The gas will bypass Ukraine, instead travelling through the Balkan Stream pipeline and pipelines in southeastern Europe, which reduces costs and excludes Kiev from receiving any transit fees.

Kiev has denounced the move, claiming that the new deal undermines the country’s national security and the energy security of Europe. Hungary has said Ukraine’s response has been “extremely outrageous.”

“Ukraine has nothing to do with those we make deals with,” Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said, who also summoned Ukraine’s ambassador to Hungary after Budapest accused Kiev of meddling in its sovereign political decisions.

Also on rt.com Russia can cut Ukraine out of new gas deal, Kiev’s energy czar says, as long as Moscow keeps handing over cash for transit rights

On Friday, Yuri Vitrenko, the head of Ukrainian state energy giant Naftogaz, said it is perfectly legal for Russia to transport gas to Hungary without using Kiev’s network of pipes, as long as Moscow keeps handing over money anyway. “Gazprom has the right not to supply gas for transit using capacity it has reserved, but will have to pay for the capacity anyway, in line with the ‘pump or pay’ principle,” he wrote. However, future deals between the Russian energy giant and Ukraine could see it purchase less capacity, potentially limiting a vital source of Kiev’s income.

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