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EU sets condition for talks on extending Russian gas transit through Ukraine

EU sets condition for talks on extending Russian gas transit through Ukraine Photo: Kadri Simson, European Commissioner for Energy (Getty Images)

Ukraine and Russia may start negotiations on extending the transit of Russian gas only after Moscow withdraws its troops, stated European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson after talks with Ukrainian Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko.

"The contract with Ukraine (on gas transit) expires in December. We are not asking our partners (Ukraine) to negotiate with Russia. But the first negotiations should take place after Russia withdraws its troops from Ukraine," the European Commissioner said.

She recalled that Europe still receives Russian gas through two pipelines - through Ukraine and Turkey.

According to Simson, given the termination of transit through Ukraine it is necessary to find alternatives to provide gas to Slovakia and Austria.

“We have worked hard to develop this alternative infrastructure potential. And we are ready (for supply reductions)," she said.

The European Commissioner emphasized that back in 2023 Russia decided to cut gas supplies to the EU by unilateral decision in order to manipulate European markets. It will be difficult for the bloc amid further reductions in gas imports from Russia.

“It will be expensive. But we are ready for it,” she noted.

Gas transit

Ukraine continues to transit Russian gas even after Russia launched a full-scale invasion of the country. The gas is imported by European countries, which are highly dependent on such supplies.

On December 31 of this year, Ukraine's gas transit contract with Gazprom is expiring. After that, deliveries through Ukrainian territory will be stopped.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal emphasized that Kyiv would not start negotiations on the extension of transit with Russia.

For more details on the situation with transit, see the material by RBC-Ukraine.