Tim McPhie believes it’s “premature” to predict the fallout from terminating the contract, which is set to expire next year
Brussels cannot yet assess the consequences of Kiev’s decision not to renew its gas transit agreement with Moscow, European Commission spokesman Tim McPhie said at a press briefing on Monday. The contract between Russian state energy major Gazprom and its Ukrainian counterpart, Naftogaz, expires next year, which means that Russian gas flows through Ukrainian territory will stop unless the deal is extended.
“The current contract expires on December 31, 2024. We have taken note of the decision of the Ukrainian authorities, but it is premature to assess its possible consequences,” McPhie stated.
Naftogaz head Aleksey Chernyshov on Sunday announced that his company had “no intention to extend” its agreement with Gazprom. He noted that Ukraine would have terminated the contract immediately if not for its concern over European consumers, who still rely on Russian supplies and won’t be able to find an alternative ahead of winter.
When asked whether Ukraine would be ready to extend the contract upon request from the EU, Chernyshov said that there had been no communication on this matter from Brussels as of yet.
Russian pipeline gas flows to the EU have dropped sharply over the past year and a half amid anti-Russia sanctions and the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines. While the bloc was able to partly make up for the lost supplies through other sources, several member states continue to greatly rely on Russian deliveries. Hungary, which gets Russian gas both through the Ukrainian transit line and via the TurkStream pipeline, suggested that the flows could be redirected to other routes if Kiev went through with the decision to stop Russian gas transit.
Moscow has repeatedly warned that shunning Russian energy exports only harms the EU. Russian President Vladimir Putin revealed earlier this month that Moscow would continue to pay for gas transit through Ukraine, as it took its obligations to European clients seriously, and would do everything in its power to fulfill its contracts. He also noted that Kiev’s economy depended on the transit fees, which rake in some $4-5 billion a month, and was therefore unlikely to reject this particular source of income, despite its threats.
“We hear that we are aggressors, that we are evil … but money, apparently, does not stink, and [Kiev] accepts the money for the transit with pleasure,” he said.
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