October 16, 2021

EU promises Ukraine to regulate Russia gas pipe

The EU has promised that Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline shall be sure by anti-monopoly legal guidelines, making it more durable to minimize off Ukraine.

“As we’ve repeatedly stressed, the 2019 gas directive, the third energy package, fully applies to Nord Stream 2. For the [EU] Commission, what’s clear is that Ukraine remains and must remain a reliable transit country,” European Fee president Ursula von der Leyen mentioned at a summit in Kyiv on Tuesday (12 October).

The summit communiqué additionally “reiterated our mutual commitment to full implementation of the applicable EU legislation” to “existing and future gas transmission systems on the territory of the EU”.

Russia just lately accomplished the brand new gas pipeline to Germany.

It’s now awaiting German regulatory approval earlier than pumping gas.

It needs to run Nord Stream 2 as a monopoly, however beneath EU regulation it has to appoint an impartial operator and let different suppliers use the pipe, making it more durable to minimize off Western allies, equivalent to Poland or Ukraine.

The Kyiv summit occurred amid surging gas costs and allegations Moscow was tightening provides to bully Germany on Nord Stream 2 guidelines.

Ukraine nonetheless transits most Russian gas to the EU in a commerce price billions to its financial system.

It additionally imports gas from Russia for personal consumption, however does so through ‘reverse-flows’ from EU nations, equivalent to Hungary and Slovakia.

Ukraine’s deputy prime minister Olha Stefanishyna just lately instructed EUobserver Russia had pledged Ukraine sufficient gas for winter.

However von der Leyen additionally promised to assistance on this entrance.

“I understand Ukraine’s concerns about gas supplies in view of much lower gas deliveries from [Russian gas firm] Gazprom. This is an issue not only for this winter, but also for winters to come,” she mentioned.

“We will also work closely with you … to increase gas supply capacity coming from European Union member states. And this includes the option of working on arrangements to reverse the flow of an additional gas pipeline from Slovakia,” she added.

For his half, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky repeated that Ukraine needed to be part of the EU.

He additionally welcomed a brand new aviation deal that will assist Ukrainian airways fly short-haul in Europe.

However, as normal, the EU gave no enlargement promise, repeating years-old language that it “acknowledged the European aspirations of Ukraine”.

The EU communiqué additionally promised to uphold financial sanctions on Russia over its aggression in east Ukraine.

And von der Leyen mentioned “we [the EU] call on Russia to assume its responsibility as a party to the conflict” there.

Worldwide displays recorded 291 ceasefire violations, together with 77 explosions, on the contact line within the 24 hours earlier than the EU summit.

Nord Stream 2 and Ukraine’s safety are intertwined for Ukrainian army commanders.

Contacts on the entrance line beforehand instructed EUobserver Russia could be bolder to wage battle in east Ukraine if it didn’t have to worry damaging EU-gas transit pipelines as soon as Nord Stream 2 was up and working.

And Russian president Vladimir Putin just lately remarked Ukraine’s transit pipes had been so previous they might “burst” any time.

“Putin suggests an ‘accident’ may befall Ukraine’s gas pipeline,” Daniel Fried, a former US diplomat, commented on Tuesday.

“Now would be a good time for the US and Germany to caution the Kremlin regarding new aggression,” Fried, who writes for the Atlantic Council think-tank in Washington, mentioned.

EU check

Russia-Ukraine battle decision is dealt with by France and Germany on behalf of the EU within the ‘Normandy Format’.

The 4 leaders final sat down in Paris in 2019, however Berlin mentioned on Monday international ministers would “meet soon” to plan new talks.

A Normandy summit might flip right into a check of EU international coverage on Russia within the context of German chancellor Angela Merkel’s departure from energy.

And for its half, Russia was sending blended alerts on the way in which forward.

Putin spoke with Merkel and French president Emmanuel Macron on Monday about Normandy talks.

However the identical day, Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev referred to as Zelensky “disgusting … weak … stupid” in Russia’s Kommersant newspaper.

“It’s pointless for us to deal with vassals,” Medvedev mentioned.

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