Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia does not intend to stop gas transit to Europe through Ukraine.
"Russia and Ukraine have concluded a gas transit agreement to Europe, this agreement will remain in force for its entire term. But even after the expiration of this agreement, Russia does not intend to abandon Ukrainian transit," Peskov said.
Peskov noted that Putin assumes that in the future the volume of gas supplies to Europe will grow, and Ukrainian transit may be needed.
"At the same time, the Russian President emphasizes every time that this is a question that is of an exclusively economic and commercial nature, and it must meet the market requirements. As for Ukraine, as the owner of the gas transit system, it should ensure the normal technical condition of the system," Peskov said.
At the end of December 2019, Ukraine, Russia and the EU signed a new gas transit contract for 5 years with the possibility of extension until 2034. The document stipulates that the minimum guaranteed gas volume will be 65 billion cubic meters in the first year and 40 billion cubic meters in the next four years.
The transit agreement is based on the "take or pay" principle, where transit fees are charged for the reserved capacity, even if the actual volume is less.
In 2019, Russian gas transit through Ukraine amounted to almost 90 billion cubic meters. In 2020, transit of Russian gas to Europe through Ukraine decreased by 38%.
In May 2021, Russian gas giant Gazprom bought all additional transit capacity for the second month in a row.
Gazprom has a long-term reservation of 40 billion cubic meters of Ukrainian capacity for 2021, that is 109 million cubic meters per day. Gazprom reserved additional 15 million cubic at an auction, bringing the transit volume to 124 million cubic meters per day.