German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that Germany believes that the transit of Russian gas through the territory of Ukraine should continue after 2019, reports Interfax-Ukraine.
During a joint briefing with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko in Kyiv, Maas said that "we [Germany] support negotiations on gas transit through Ukraine. We believe that transit should continue after 2019."
Maas stressed that he wants to dispel certain speculations around the "gas" topic that have recently arisen. "The German Bundestag adopted the European Gas Directive exactly as we promised," said German Minister.
On January 1, 2020, the current 10-year transit agreement between Naftogaz of Ukraine and Russia’s Gazprom will expire. Naftogaz is skeptical of whether a new contract will be signed, and the group’s executive director Yuriy Vitrenko said that the company should prepare for transit to cease in 2020.
On September 19 this year, trilateral gas consultations (Ukraine, Russia, the European Commission) were held in Brussels regarding the possibility of a new contract. Ukraine proposed a new 10-year contract for the transit of up to 90 billion cubic meters of gas per year.
The most recent round of gas talks took place on October 28. After the meeting, the Ukrainian delegation said that the Russians had nothing new to offer. Naftogaz said that both Ukraine and the European Commission are in favor of signing a new long-term contract for the transit of a significant quantity of gas. On the Ukrainian side, the contract would be signed by the new GTS operator, which will be separated from the Naftogaz group.
The next round of negotiations is scheduled for November. During this time, experts in Moscow and Brussels will investigate whether the changes in Ukrainian legislation comply with EU regulations.
On November 18, Gazprom sent to Naftogaz of Ukraine an official proposal to extend the existing contract or conclude a new contract on gas transit through Ukraine for a period of one year. The Ukrainian Ministry of Energy of called this proposal unacceptable.