Russia keeps using gas as geopolitical weapon against Ukraine, EU – Naftogaz CEO.

The Russian Federation continues to use natural gas as a geopolitical weapon against Ukraine and the European Union, says Yuriy Vitrenko, Chairman of the Board at NJSC Naftogaz of Ukraine.

As proof, Vitrenko cited in a Facebook post on Monday, July 26, a recent statement by Russia's gas monopoly Gazprom that the continued gas transit through Ukraine depended on the EU companies purchasing additional gas volumes from Gazprom under new contracts.

"Why can't the transit volumes under the current (!) contracts of Gazprom’s gas buyers in Europe be transmitted via Ukraine beyond 2024? Previously, both Germany and Russia said Nord Stream 2 was being built only for additional volumes. If these statements were honest, then the volumes under the current contracts should continue to run through Ukraine. And the best guarantee that this will be the case would be relocating gas transmission points under these current contracts to the Ukraine-Russia border, so that later European buyers of Gazprom's gas could themselves book transit through Ukraine. For our part, we assure that we will offer them competitive conditions," the Naftogaz CEO wrote.

“Why doesn't Gazprom have a gas transmission point on the Ukraine-Russia border on its electronic platform at the moment? For our part, at least from 2020, there’ve been no obstacles to this end. Gazprom's counterparties would then be able to book transit through Ukraine themselves. Do you really want to sell additional volumes to Europe? Then why aren’t you? Let me remind you that Gazprom has reserved transit volumes through Ukraine in 2021 that are 25 billion cubic meters below those in 2020. So go sell these 25 bcm to European companies on the Russia-Ukraine border for further transit to Europe!” Vitrenko noted.

Read also: German-U.S. deal on Nord Stream 2 encourages Russia to take aggressive action – MFA Poland

Also, according to the Naftogaz CEO, Gazprom does not allow other exporters from Central Asia and Russia to use the capacity of its gas transmission system to export gas to Europe through the Ukrainian territory.

“They would be happy to provide their ‘additional’ volumes for transit through Ukraine,” he added.

According to the Naftogaz chief, Ukraine expects to receive answers to these questions “in the near future.”

We hope our German and American partners will, as promised, take these responses (or lack thereof, which will be even more eloquent) into account when determining whether the Kremlin is using Nord Stream 2 as a geopolitical weapon and whether the project should be stopped," Vitrenko emphasized.

Earlier media reports said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov confirmed Gazprom's statement on the company’s readiness to transmit gas through Ukraine beyond 2024 when the current transit contract expires – that’s if the Ukrainian gas transmission system proves economically feasible and technically prepared.

In the recent Joint Declaration, the United States and Germany agreed that it was in the interests of Ukraine and Europe to continue gas transit through Ukraine after 2024. Accordingly, Germany undertakes to apply all available levers to ensure the extension of the gas transit deal with Russia for up to 10 years, and is set to appoint a special envoy to this end.

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