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Ukraine promises Russian gas to EU country

Kiev will continue supplies to Austria even without a transit contract with Moscow, senior official has claimed


Russian gas will flow through Ukraine to Austria even if the current transit contract between Moscow and Kiev isn’t extended, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Olga Stefanishina pledged on Thursday, speaking to Austrian broadcaster ORF.

The official assured Vienna that Kiev is a “reliable partner” and will continue transiting gas from Russia to Austria after the existing contract expires, according to the outlet. Stefanishina expressed her hope that, in return, EU member states would green-light the start of talks with her country about joining the bloc.

Kiev’s current gas-transit agreement with Moscow is valid until 2024 and, according to Ukrainian officials, the chances that a new deal will be negotiated are slim. There is “neither the intention nor the initiative to extend it,” the head of the Ukrainian state energy firm Naftogaz Aleksey Chernyshov said in a recent interview.

Brokered by the EU, the current five-year contract between Russia and Ukraine was signed in 2019 just 24 hours before the previous agreement was due to expire. Under the deal, Russian energy giant Gazprom agreed to transit 65 billion cubic meters of gas through Ukraine in 2020, and 40 billion annually between 2021 and 2024. 

READ MORE: Kiev won’t extend gas transit deal with Moscow – Naftogaz

According to Stefanishina, Kiev would be working with EU partners to look for a solution to supply Austria with Russian gas, even if it becomes legally and politically complicated.

Russian gas deliveries through Ukraine currently account for 5% of Moscow’s gas exports to Europe. However, some EU countries, including Austria, are still heavily dependent on imports from the sanctions-hit country.

The statement by the Ukrainian deputy prime minister caused a stir, especially since Austria gets around two thirds of its gas from Russia through Ukraine. Austria’s energy major OMV has a long-term supply contract with Moscow until 2040, according to ORF.

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