BERLIN, May 16. /TASS/. Russia’s Energy Ministry opposes the idea of selling Russian gas to Ukraine on the eastern border, so that later the Ukrainian side itself could sell it to the EU countries, Deputy Energy Minister Anatoly Yanovsky, told reporters on the sidelines of the international conference Prospects for Russia-EU Energy Cooperation: Gas Aspects."
"Why should I give my customers to them? If I have been supplying [gas] to them for 30 years?" Yanovsky said, stressing that the current contract between the countries provides for the transit of gas to Europe through Ukraine.
Prolongation of this contract can be one of the options for maintaining transit through Ukraine, he noted.
"In the current contract, you can change the volume and time. Everything is possible," said Yanovsky.
"The EU rules should provide freedom of movement [of gas] through the territory at a competitive price but they do not grant this yet," he added.
According to Yanovsky, the parties may manage to agree on the extension of contact this year.
"The closer to the deadline, the stronger the desire to settle everything," he said.
"Any new agreements that can be reached should not be to the detriment of the ongoing arbitration (between Gazprom and Naftogaz - TASS)," he added.
The contracts Gazprom and Naftogaz signed in 2009 for the supply of gas to Ukraine and the transit of gas through the country to Europe expire in the end of this year. Extension of the agreements on transit of Russian gas after 2019 is also being discussed in the context of the planned construction of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, which will bypass the transit countries.