Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, believes that Ukraine is not ready to accept direct gas deliveries from Russia, and intends to do this only as part of the European energy market and its rules
“I think that we are not yet ready to return to direct deliveries. But that’s not even the point. My goal as Vice Prime Minister of Eurointegration is to ensure that Ukraine’s gas market functions exclusively on the basis of the standards of the European Union, the Third Energy Package, and that our energy is integrated with European energy. Nowhere in the rules of the EU does it state that you must not purchase gas from any particular country,” Kuleba told Interfax-Ukraine in an interview.
In his opinion, the point is that Russia must stop using gas as an instrument for blackmailing or corrupting the national elite, as was the case during all the previous years of independence up until 2014.
“That’s why, while we are creating a holistic energy gas market according to EU standards, we cannot prohibit companies from buying gas from Gazprom in accordance with their agreements, but in Ukraine, Gazprom will play exclusively according to the European rules and standards. It will not have a monopoly, it will not have opportunities to impose its own terms by bribing officials, it will be one of the players,” the vice premier added.
Kuleba noted that, in 2014, Ukraine was Gazprom’s biggest client. However, he expressed certainty that this will never again be the case, since the diversification of the market and the functioning of the gas market according to EU standards will not allow this to happen.
“Someone will buy gas directly from Gazprom, that’s how it will be. Perhaps, theoretically, Naftogaz will buy directly from Gazprom at a certain stage, but exclusively as part of the market mechanisms, without corruption, blackmail, and without the ‘gas needle’. I’m convinced that we’re going to leave all of this behind us,” said Kuleba.
Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolyev said previously that the gas agreements from December 30, 2019, do not prohibit direct gas deliveries from Russia which bypass Naftogaz. However, he stressed that Naftogaz itself currently has no plans to buy gas from Russia.