Ukraine and Russia Conclude Agreement on Gas Transit in Europe

BY Tiya Chatterji December 31, 2019

Russian and Ukrainian companies signed a final five-year agreement safeguarding Russian gas transit to Europe via Ukraine, Kremlin-controlled gas giant Gazprom and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy hailed the agreements that were signed late Monday, saying they will allow Ukraine to get at least $7 billion in transit payments from Russia over the next five years. The decision announced eliminates worries that Europe could be denied of a substantial amount of the Russian gas that it relies on for heating and industrial use. Russia ships about 40 percent of its European gas deliveries through pipelines that cross Ukraine. The expiry of the current contract at end of the year and delays in concluding a new one caused major concern in Europe.

Mr. Zelenskiy said on Facebook the documents ensured Ukraine’s “energy security and well-being” and let “Europe know that we won’t fail it when it comes to energy security.” The deal, which came just 24 hours before the current agreement expires on Tuesday, averted a potential Russian gas-flow obtrusion to Europe and helped Moscow avoid another blow to its reputation as a long-term energy supplier after Russian oil exports to Europe were contaminated earlier this year.

“Now we have in place a political framework with the key arrangements that are necessary to pave the way for a long-term gas transit contract between companies,” European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic, who took part in Friday’s talks, said in a statement. Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow aimed to reach a new gas transit deal with Kiev, with “mutually beneficial (conditions), without creating risks for both sides”.