Kiev creates obstacles to gas transit through Ukraine – Putin – Business & Economy
ST. PETERSBURG, June 4. / TASS /. Russia could pump a lot more gas through Ukraine, but Kiev is creating obstacles to prevent it, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday.
“First, we have a contract with Ukraine on the transit of our gas. In the next five years, we will be pumping up to 40 billion cubic meters per year. At the best times, we were pumping up to $ 200 billion, I think. “he told a plenary session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.” If we had normal relations and pumped most of the gas through Ukraine, but that’s bound to be problems. He explained that the problem was Kiev’s monopoly position which allowed it to manage the prices of both Russian gas and its transit.
“The problems are not even political, they are economic. Because a monopoly on gas transit gives rise to the illusion that transit prices could soar, on the one hand, and that the prices Ukraine pays for gas under direct contracts with Russia could be shrunk as much as possible, on the other hand. Monopoly is bad, that’s the problem, ”he said.
Commenting on Kiev’s negative stance on building the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, the Russian leader said Ukraine’s gas transmission system could be used even after the current transit contract expires. “We are now paying them (Ukraine – TASS) 1.5 billion US dollars per year for gas transit. They could have been paid three, four or even five billion but they destroyed everything with their own hands”, a- he noted. “Europe’s gas supplies could increase by 50 billion [cubic meters] in the next ten years. It is possible to use Ukraine’s gas transportation system in the future, even after our current contract expires. Everything is possible and we are ready for it and we want it, but the goodwill of our Ukrainian partners is necessary. “
Commenting on Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s remarks that Ukraine would not be able to maintain its army without the funds it received from the transit of Russian natural gas through its territory, Putin noted that he was not obliged to provide for everyone’s needs. “Do you think we need to feed everyone? We have no obligation to provide food for everyone,” Putin noted, adding that Kiev should think better about how to spend the transit money. gas to improve the country’s economy rather than funding a solution to the conflict in Donbass.
Nord Stream 2 project
Nord Stream 2 is an international project to build a gas pipeline that will cross the bottom of the Baltic Sea from the Russian coast to Germany bypassing transit states, such as Ukraine, Belarus, Poland and other Eastern European and Baltic countries.
The new 1,230 kilometer pipeline, following essentially the same route as Nord Stream, crosses the economic zones and territorial waters of five countries, namely Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany.
From the start of construction of the pipeline, Ukraine insisted that it be stopped because it posed a threat to its interests. The situation has not changed even after the signing of a new five-year gas transit contract with Russia in 2019.
Despite repeated statements by project participants about its purely economic nature, the United States imposed sanctions and work on the project was suspended in December 2019. However, pipeline laying was later resumed by Russia , which deployed two pipe-laying vessels – the Academician Chersky and the Fortuna.
At the end of May, US President Joe Biden admitted that construction of the Nord Stream 2 was practically complete and that further sanctions against it would be counterproductive for the country’s relations with Europe.
On Friday, the Russian president told a plenary session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum that construction of one Nord Stream 2 line is complete and the second will be completed in 1.5 to 2 months.