BRUSSELS, March 4. /TASS/. All commitments on supplies and transit of Russian gas to the European Union are being implemented in full, European Commission spokesperson Anna-Kaisa Itkonen told TASS on Saturday.
"All existing commitments to supply and transit gas to the EU are being honoured," she said. "We <…> will follow the situation closely in order to ensure that the transit of Russian gas through Ukraine to the EU - as it remains our priority - is safeguarded at all times.·''·
The European Commission’s Vice-President in charge of Energy Union, Maros Sefcovic held phone conversations with Ukrainian Prime Minister Vladimir Groisman, Naftogaz CEO Andrei Kobolev and Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak on Saturday and Friday. The conversations focused on Ukraine's concern regarding pressure levels in gas supply from Russia, on gas for the transit to the EU, as well as on the decision of the Stockholm Arbitration Tribunal.
The EU spokesperson said that during the phone conversations, the Russian side "informed that Gazprom remains set to terminate its contracts with Naftogaz." "However, this procedure may still take some time," she went on.
"In this context, however, the Commission encourages both sides to engage in seeking a satisfactory solution to this issue," Itkonen said. "The Commission stands ready to engage and mediate in a trilateral process, which in the past proved to be effective in bridging differences between the parties."
The spokesperson said that due to the complexity and sensitivity of the issue, the Commission will also explore this possibility in the course of separate bilateral EU-Russia and EU-Ukraine consultations on the issue.
Termination of contracts
Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said on Friday that the Russian gas holding is forced to immediately begin the procedure of terminating its gas supply and transit contracts with Ukraine. He told reporters that the Stockholm arbitration, guided by double standards, had adopted an asymmetric decision on the contracts with Naftogaz of Ukraine regarding supply and transit of gas. The decision seriously violates the balance of interests of the parties under these contracts, according to Miller.
He also said that the international arbiters explained their decision by a slump in the Ukrainian economy. According to Miller, the Russian company opposed the decision to solve Ukraine’s economic problems at its expense.
On February 28, the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce imposed a $4.63-billion penalty on Russian energy giant Gazprom over its gas transit dispute with Ukraine’s national oil and gas company Naftogaz. Taking into account the satisfied counter claims, Gazprom has to pay $ 2.56 bln).