Ukraine Ready for Long-term Gas Transit Contract with Russia’s Gazprom: PM

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk told journalists at a briefing that his country wants a long-term gas transit contract with Russia based on European standards, Unian reported on Wednesday.

“We aim to get a long-term contract, because the continuation of the contract for one year… does not suit us,” Honcharuk said, adding that Kiev would not agree to a short-term deal sought by Moscow.

The existing 10-year deal expires at the end of the year and Kiev is concerned that Moscow could stop using Ukraine as a transit route when other pipelines are completed, leaving some Ukrainian regions without gas in winter.

Russia and Ukraine, which have been at loggerheads since Moscow annexed Crimea in 2014, failed to agree on a new deal at talks in Brussels in September but said they would meet in October with the aim of reaching a deal before the old contract expires.

“It is important for Ukraine to get a new long-term contract because Ukraine and our gas transport system begin to work on European rules,” the prime minister said.

Sources familiar with Russian thinking told Reuters in July that Moscow Russia wanted a short-term deal to buy time to complete other pipeline routes that bypass Ukraine.

Moscow is building new pipelines to Europe, such as Nord Stream 2 and TurkStream, to bypass Ukraine, which is now a major route for Europe’s Russian gas supplies.