EU countries will completely abandon gas imports from Russia within 25 years, said German Chancellor Angela Merkel after meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
According to Merkel, moving away from gas is necessary for the implementation of the policy of climate neutrality adopted by the European Union.
"At the latest in 25 years, gas from Russia to Europe will not be exported at all or in much smaller volumes," Merkel warned. It is necessary that not only Moscow but also Kyiv prepares for it, she stressed.
"Ukraine should prepare for the fact that Europe will be much more independent from gas. Ukraine, like other countries, should understand what to do when this happens," Merkel said.
One possible option is cooperation on hydrogen, she suggested, adding that such projects should be developed step by step, and in 2024, when the current contract for the transit of Russian fuel through Ukraine expires, "hydrogen will still not be able to replace gas."
Ukrainian national gas company and German gas trader RWE Supply & Trading GmbH have agreed to cooperate in the development of hydrogen projects, Deutsche Welle reports. During Merkel’s visit to Kyiv, representatives of the two companies signed a memorandum of understanding and a plan to start joint work within the working groups beginning next month.
Among other things, Germany is exploring the possibility of selling Ukrainian "green" hydrogen in European markets. Chairman of Naftogaz Board of Directors Yuriy Vitrenko said that Ukraine has "great potential for the development of the hydrogen economy in cooperation with Germany."
As for the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline, which, according to Russian gas giant Gazprom, can be launched as early as this year, Germany will initiate sanctions if the Russian authorities begin to use the project as a weapon, Merkel assured.
She added that Germany will ensure that the agreement on the transit of Russian gas through Ukraine, expiring in 2024, would be extended as soon as possible.