Ukraine has proposed economically unacceptable terms for gas transit, said Russian President Vladimir Putin at a press conference on Wednesday after meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in Moscow, the Kremlin’s press service reports.
“We are prepared to keep Ukrainian transit, we are currently conducting negotiations about it in Vienna. While’s it’s true that the terms offered to us by the Ukrainian transiters are possible, they’re still economically unacceptable. But I hope that it’s a request position, and that some sort of position can be agreed on,” he said.
Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller also complained that Ukraine has imposed extremely high tariffs for transit over the next few years.
On January 1, 2020, the current 10-year gas transit contract between Naftogaz of Ukraine and Russia’s Gazprom will expire.
With assistance from the European Commission, Ukraine has been trying to get Russia to sign a new 10-year contract for the transit of 90 billion cubic meters per year. However, Naftogaz is skeptical of whether such a contract will actually be signed, and Yuriy Vitrenko, executive director of the Naftogaz group, said that the company needs to prepare for transit to end in 2020.
Russia is expecting to finish building the second line of the Nord Stream gas pipeline in 2020, which will enable it to minimize or completely forego gas transit through Ukraine.