PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY, December 15. /TASS/. Russian will continue to transit its gas vis Ukraine only if it is economically and commercially expedient for Gazprom, a national gas utility, Russian president’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Sunday.
"From the very beginning President Vladimir Putin has been saying that even when our routes of energy supplies to Europe are diversified the Russian side is ready to continue gas transit via Ukraine, but it is only possible if case it is economically and commercially expedient to our supplier, i.e. Gazprom. Talks continue," he said in an interview with the Bolshaya Igra (Big Game) program on Russia’s television Channel One.
He also said that a number of provisions and rulings of the Stockholm arbitration tribunal "are still unacceptable for the Russian side."
The current contracts between Russia’s Gazprom and Ukraine’s Naftogaz on gas supplies to and transit via Ukraine expire on December 31, 2019. Russia, Ukraine and the European Commission continue consultations on transit of Russian gas to the European Union via Ukraine starting from 2020, but the dialogue is being complicated by the legal wrangling between Gazprom and Naftogaz.
Moscow insists on the so-called "package solution" when the parties are to drop mutual claims and sign a contract on direct gas purchase at a discounted price. As a fallback option, Russia suggest the current transit contract be extended to 2020. But Ukraine is reluctant to drop litigations and sign a short-term contract.