Russia Does U-Turn on Ukraine Gas Transit
Russian President Vladimir Putin has demanded the beginning of talks over the continuation of gas transit via Ukraine after 2019, Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller has said.
This marks a substantial shift in the Kremlin's position after Russian political and energy officials had called on Europe to prepare for the end of transportation via Ukraine after 2019 - the year when the Turkish Stream pipeline is supposed to be up and running.
"[People] say there is some cunning plan of Gazprom to disrupt transit via Ukraine... let us bring some clarity. There is an active gas transit contract through Ukrainian territory by 2019," Russian business daily RBC quotes miller as saying at a Shareholders' Meeting held in Moscow on Friday.
He also warned that Ukraine's positions on a continued transit are partly unacceptable.
In his words, Kiev's demand that the transit fee be raised from USD 2.7 to USD 5 per 1000 cubic meters is "unfair" and "disputable".
Gazprom's top executive added there are instruction from President Putin for negotiations to be carried out between the Russian giant and Naftogaz for the post-2019 period. RBC reports that Gazprom was unavailable to comment on that.
In December of last year Putin ditched the South Stream pipeline project, which would have carried gas to Central Europe via Bulgaria, announcing a joint project with Turkey instead.
Many Russian officials later asserted that Turkish Stream would make the existing gas transportation network in Ukraine redundant.
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