Russian deputy FM: Gas transits through Ukraine will continue

Russia’s deputy foreign minister Aleksander Pankin has said that his country’s government will not stop gas deliveries to Europe through Ukraine from 2020, adding that “Russia cannot accept [new] demands” regarding the gas contract between Russian gas giant Gazprom and Ukrainian state gas company Naftogaz.

“No one has ever made an announcement that we will refuse [to continue the gas transits]. For us, it would be deadly and irrational. But to give such an ultimatum that [Ukrainians] has nowhere to go (…), so accept our terms and that’s it – this is not a form of [dialogue] we support,” Mr Pankin said on June 6.

The deputy FM emphasised that the requirements for the new gas contract between the two sides have to be reasonable for Moscow. He also expressed his hopes that trilateral negotiations between Russia, Ukraine and the European Union would begin during the second half of 2019.

In May, the Ukrainian press reported that EU commission vice president for energy Maroš Šefčovič would hold talks with Russian energy minister Aleksander Novak on June 13 in Moscow to discuss the exact date of the trilateral talks.

Mr Pankin’s announcement comes after Russia and Ukraine have for months been unsuccessfully negotiating a gas contract for 2020, with Ukraine – in light of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 and TurkStream pipelines that are now being built – fearing the loss of its gas transit role.