MOSCOW, January 31. /TASS/. Russia considers the contract on gas transit through Ukraine, in force until the end of 2019, balanced, and would be ready to extend it for a long time, perhaps for another 10 years, Russia's Permanent Representative to the European Union Vladimir Chizhov said in an interview with TASS.
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"The current ten-year contract, which expires on December 31, 2019, of course, has an ambiguous history," he said. "At the time, it was signed for the Ukrainian side by Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who was, as you know, imprisoned," Chizhov added.
At the same time, Chizhov said that the contract was quite balanced. "This contract is fairly balanced, so the Russian side represented by Gazprom, as an economic entity, is ready to extend the document, and for quite a long time. Perhaps for another ten years," he said.
Chizhov added that the requirement that the new contract fully complies with the EU gas legislation, which has been amended in recent years, is rather an inquiry position than a real requirement, since Ukrainian legislation does not comply with it. "It also evolves under the direct dictation of Brussels, but it’s still far from complying with EU standards. It looks like just a query position," he said.
The prospect of a new contract, according to Chizhov, may be affected by the results of the upcoming presidential elections in Ukraine in spring. "The next ministerial meeting on gas is scheduled for May. In Ukraine, on March 31, the presidential elections will be held. So we’ll see who we will have to deal with in May," he added.
Trilateral meeting on transit of Russian gas through the territory of Ukraine with the participation of Russia, Ukraine and the European Commission was held on January 21 in Brussels with no results. Kiev received proposals for continuing gas transit from Russia after 2019 from both the Russian and European sides. According to representatives of the Ukrainian delegation, Russia’s proposal to simply extend the existing contract does not suit Ukraine, and the European Commission’s proposal will be examined.