Russia and Ukraine have signed a protocol of agreements regarding the continuation of gas transit through Ukrainian territory. This was told in Gazprom after the completion of negotiations between Kiev and Moscow, which took place near Minsk.
“The Russian and Ukrainian sides signed a protocol of agreements on the continuation of gas transit through the territory of Ukraine and the settlement of mutual requirements,” RIA Novosti quoted the company as saying.
Gazprom did not disclose details of the agreements.
In turn, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, who participated in the negotiations, said that the signing of a five-year contract for transit through Ukraine is expected before the new year.
Kozak added that this will be a new contract, but did not specify the estimated volumes of transit, saying only that they are “sufficient to meet the needs of European consumers.”
Deputy Prime Minister also said that Moscow and Kiev have settled mutual claims on gas.
“There will be no more lawsuits, legal disputes, mutual claims,” he added.
At the same time, Kozak noted that "the negotiations were completed quite successfully."
“We have found mutually beneficial, mutually acceptable solutions for the Russian Federation and for Ukraine, and, most importantly, for European consumers,” said the Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation.
- © Gleb Garanich
European Commission Vice President Maros Shefcovic, who oversees the transit issue to the EC, called the agreement balanced and mutually beneficial. According to him, now the parties have a “political basis with key agreements,” which are necessary for concluding a long-term gas transit contract.
“Russia will retain the status of a reliable supplier for European markets, and Ukraine retains its role as a strategic transit country,” Shevchovich added.
The office of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky also confirmed the agreement.
“Representatives of the European Commission, Ukraine and the Russian Federation today reached a final agreement on principled positions on the transit of Russian gas through Ukrainian territory to European consumers and the settlement of mutual claims,” the office said.
They added that the details of the agreement will be announced on Saturday, December 21, at a briefing by the Minister of Energy and Environmental Protection of Ukraine Alexey Orzhel and the Executive Director of Naftogaz Yuriy Vitrenko.
On the eve of Russia and Ukraine, with the participation of the European Commission and Germany, held talks on gas, during which they prepared a detailed protocol on transit. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said that the project is in a high degree of readiness and requires approval. The head of the Ministry of Energy of Ukraine added that the protocol brings the parties closer to the final agreements. However, almost nothing is known about its details. EC Vice President Marosh Shefchovich said that the details of the agreement will not be known before it is approved in Moscow and Kiev.
On January 1, 2020, a ten-year gas transit agreement between Naftogaz and Gazprom expires. The parties regularly hold consultations on the issue of concluding a new agreement, but until that moment they have not been able to achieve significant progress.
The management of Gazprom on November 18 formally proposed that Naftogaz extend the existing contract or enter into a new one for a year taking into account the forecast demand of European buyers for gas for 2020. The Russian side recalled that the condition for concluding a new contract is the settlement of litigation and the rejection of mutual claims.
Also, the condition for concluding the contract is the cancellation of the decision of the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine on imposing a fine on Gazprom for allegedly "violating economic competition" and withdrawing the request of Naftogaz of Ukraine to initiate an investigation by the European Commission against a Russian company. The Ukrainian side had previously not agreed to these conditions, calling them unacceptable.
At the moment, according to the decision of the Stockholm arbitration, the Russian side must pay the Ukrainian order $ 3 billion. Gazprom disagrees with the decision and disputes it in court. Commenting on the situation, Russian leader Vladimir Putin said that the court’s decision is not legal, but rather political in nature. At the same time, he added that Moscow is still ready to supply gas to Ukraine directly on favorable terms with a 20-25% discount.
Kiev is now buying gas under the reverse scheme. He receives fuel from European countries, acquiring, in fact, all the same Russian gas, but with a significant margin due to the emergence of new links in the supply chain - European companies.