The trilateral gas talks in the EU-Russia-Ukraine format at the expert level will start next week, Anna-Kaisa Itkonen, a representative of the European Commission (EC) said on Wednesday, according to Rossiyskaya Gazeta.
“The senior expert-level talks are meant to be starting next week,” she said. “No definite date fixed yet,” the EC representative added.
In 2009, Russia’s state oil giant Gazprom and Ukrainian counterpart Naftogaz signed two contracts – one for the supply of Russian gas to Ukraine and another contract on gas transit through Ukraine to Europe. The agreements expire in 2019.
The transit of Russian gas after 2019 is now discussed in the context of the planned construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, which intends to bypass the transit states. Ukraine, Poland, and the Baltic states, backed by the United States, have been opposing the project.
On Wednesday, Gazprom said the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in Finland’s waters will begin within several days. In August, the company announced they were preparing for the construction of a Russian stretch of the pipeline. The preparations are also underway in Germany.
The two pipelines of the projects will connect Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea and territorial waters of Russia, Germany, Denmark, Finland and Sweden. The project has yet to secure Denmark’s approval.