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MOSCOW, February 10 (Itar-Tass) —— Ukraine will not find a substitute for Russian gas and the two states are destined to cooperate, Russian Gas Union President, First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee for Economic Policy, Innovative Development and Entrepreneurship Valery Yazev (United Russia) told Itar-Tass in an interview on Friday.
Ukraine is actively searching for alternative exporters of oil and gas, Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov said in a lecture he delivered at the Latvian University earlier in the day.
Ukraine “has practically agreed on new suppliers of crude and gas. If Russian crude and gas prices do not change, we will have to cut the purchase of these strategic commodities from our Russian partners,” the premier said.
In turn, Yazev described the statement as a part of the bargaining ahead of the new round of Russia-Ukraine gas negotiations and a wish to define one’s position and to exert some pressure. “In my opinion, it is simply impossible for Ukraine to substitute Russian gas and crude. It is totally impossible to find a substitute for 40 billion cubic meters of Russian gas on the European market. It is simply not there,” he said. “This is especially so as Europe has an increasing demand for gas and declares the shutdown of nuclear power plants,” he noted.
“It is unrealistic for Ukraine to substitute Russian gas with sources in the Caspian and Black Sea region,” he said. “It may be possible to bring additional LNG from Malaysia and Qatar, but that would require the construction of terminals. In this case, transport will be a factor.”
“Hence, there is no serious alternative to Russian gas. At the same time, Ukraine is important to us as a major gas buyer. We are destined to cooperate; we must reconcile our positions and find a way of long-term deliveries of Russian gas to that country,” Yazev said.
Asked whether it was possible to cut the gas price, the expert said, “That could be founded and possible in the case of economic integration, Ukraine’s accession to the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space, and integration processes between our companies.”
“Otherwise, I see no grounds for cutting the gas price for Ukraine,” he remarked.