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13 Jul, 2022 08:22

Moscow describes future of Ukrainian gas transit

Future deliveries depends on whether Russia needs to sell energy to the EU after 2024, the Foreign Ministry said
Moscow describes future of Ukrainian gas transit

The future of Russian gas transit through Ukraine will depend on European nations, according to a Foreign Ministry official. The EU’s intention to drop Russia as a supplier means that Ukraine will no longer receive transit fees, according to the senior diplomat.

But “if European consumers maintain the demand and the Ukrainian pipeline system remains operational, Russia would consider the option of preserving Ukrainian transit,” Dmitry Birichevsky, the head of the economic cooperation section of the Russian Foreign Ministry, told RIA Novosti in an interview published on Wednesday.

The current transit contract with Ukraine was signed in December 2019 for five years, with an option to extend it for 10 more years. Ukraine considered the deal a major victory.

After Russia’s military operation in Ukraine began in late February, the EU placed sweeping economic sanctions on Moscow, declaring its intention to wean itself off Russian energy.

In May Ukraine announced the suspension of gas transit through one of the two routes used by Russia, claiming it was necessary due to the loss of control over part of the pipeline. The infrastructure in question was captured in the early days of Moscow’s military operation. Russian gas giant Gazprom dismissed Ukraine’s claims that the continued operation of the pipeline was not safe.

The flow of gas through an alternate route to Europe, the Nord Stream pipeline, was disrupted last month. Russia said it had to reduce the capacity by 60% due to Germany’s failure to return a Siemens Energy gas turbine following maintenance. The crucial piece of equipment was stuck in Canada due to sanctions.

Berlin and Ottawa have since negotiated the return of the turbine. Canada, however, has not said when it will be shipped back to Germany. Kiev lashed out at the decision, calling it an erosion of the sanctions, while claiming that Russia could pump more gas through Ukraine instead.

“It’s not Russia’s fault that Europeans are facing winter cold without heating and summer heat without air conditioning. The sanctions boomerang back at the Western economies,” he said.

European restrictions may be painful for the Russian economy, but “our retaliatory measures can be quite painful” too, he said, adding that Moscow has not done everything within its power to harm Western nations.