The version that Kyiv is working on, to disrupt the transit (of gas), is almost confirmed. Almost every day, Naftogaz representatives say they won’t sign the new contract. Of course, they blame Russia for everything, but they make it clear that, in any case, there will be no agreement. And they are developing an action plan that will be implemented only if the transit is suspended.
Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative blaming Ukraine for the disruption of the gas talks between Russia and Ukraine and plans to cut gas transit from Russia to the EU.
According to Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council Secretary Oleksandr Danylyuk, a group to negotiate a new deal between Russia and Ukraine on gas transit will be set up after Ukraine forms a new government.
“The [Russian gas transit] contract expires on 1st January. Once the new government is appointed, it will form the group and the group leader, the energy minister, will be tasked with negotiating the conclusion of a new contract or the extension of the current one,” Danylyuk told BBC Ukraine in an interview published on 13 August 2019.
He acknowledges that the extension of the transit is important for Ukraine, and Kyiv is ready to sign a new contract.
“There are other factors to be taken into account, including the way the Ukrainian GTS [gas transportation system] works. This is important. Continuation of Russian gas transit would have been irrelevant if not for that. We understand that this is another leverage,” he said.
However, in case a new deal cannot be agreed, Ukraine is preparing a Plan B. State gas transport company Ukrtransgaz has already upgraded five gas pumping stations that will be able to provide gas for consumers in the Eastern and Southern regions of Ukraine in case gas transit is disrupted.
At the moment, Ukraine and Russia have different views on how a new deal should work. Moscow proposes a short-term deal to have time to complete its pipelines that bypass Ukraine. On the contrary, Kyiv supports European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic’s proposal to sign a 10-year transit contract with a guaranteed minimum yearly transit volume of 60 bcm and 30 bcm of additional flexibility.
Trilateral talks between Ukraine, Russia and the EU on gas transit will resume in September.