Russia and ukraine sign landmark deal on gastransit to supply europe.
Russian state-owned gazprom and ukrainian energy company naftogaz signed the agreement on tuesday night after days of negotiations. This was announced by the ukrainian president volodymyr selenskyj. Gazprom chief alexei miller said final agreements had been reached. They have already come into force. This ensures the flow of gas to europe.
It is the first agreement between kiev and moscow after more than five years of massive confrontation in the ukraine conflict. The transit contract for the secure supply of europe, especially germany, is valid for five years. It was signed practically at the last moment, because the current ten-year contract expires on tuesday (31.12.2019) expires.
Selensky and kremlin leader vladimir putin buried the agreement, according to a statement by the presidential office in kiev after a telephone conversation between the two politicians. German chancellor angela merkel (CDU) spoke of a "good and important signal" for security of supply in europe. She thanked russia and ukraine for it.
EU energy commissioner maros sefcovic said in brussel: "this is a great day for energy security in europe."This was "hard work" on the part of all parties involved. The deal was "a strong message for our consumers and industry".
Russia and ukraine had already agreed on 19. December a basic agreement brokered by the EU and federal economics minister peter altmaier (CDU) was announced. Transit volumes will be significantly lower in the future than in the past. Ukraine had wanted to have as large a transit volume as possible, because that would have meant more income from transit fees for the financially weak country.
Instead of the current level of around 90 billion cubic meters per year, only 65 billion cubic meters of russian gas are to be pumped through ukraine in 2020. 40 billion cubic meters of gas per year are planned for transit from 2021 to 2024. Russia wants to use the baltic sea pipeline nord stream 2, whose construction is currently paralyzed by U.S. Sanctions, for direct deliveries to germany in the future. Therefore, the transit volume through ukraine will be lower in the future.
It is still unclear when the pipeline will come on stream. "I don’t think anyone can give a date now," kremlin spokesman dmitry peskov said, according to the interfax agency. Energy minister alexander nowak had previously said that the start-up was not expected until the end of 2020. The project itself is not in danger, peskov says.
Russian media had recently criticized russia for making too many concessions to ukraine in the new treaty deal. Gazprom transferred a sum of 2.9 billion US dollars (2.61 billion euros) to naftogaz. The ukraine buried the. The money gives the chronically cash-strapped country more room for maneuver in terms of social policy.
The negotiated agreement is also expected to drop claims from several legal disputes. According to russian sources, ukraine will waive claims against russia in the double-digit billion range in return. According to selenkyj, there is a possibility of extending the contract for another ten years.
Russian head of government dmitry medvedev described the deal as appropriate for both sides. "It was a compromise that had to be found," he wrote on the social network vkontakte on tuesday. "Now all problems are solved."
According to naftogaz, the supply of russian gas to ukraine was not itself the subject of the negotiations. The company said that it had taken note of an offer from gazprom to this effect. It remained unclear whether there would be separate talks on this issue in the near future.
Another agreement gazprom concluded with bulgaria. The EU member state is to receive russian gas through the turkish stream pipeline from january, bulgaria’s energy minister temenushka petkova said. This will allow russia to bypass ukraine for gas supplies to bulgaria.
Parts of the pipeline are still under construction. Work is still underway on a branch from turkish stream through bulgaria – called balkan stream – to the serbian border. 13 years after joining the EU, bulgaria, formerly an eastern bloc country, is still almost completely dependent on russian natural gas, but is seeking new supply routes and gas sources.