KIEV, March 27. /TASS/. Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko pledged that in two or three years his country would become completely independent in the energy sector and stop importing natural gas.
"I insist that if we pass the point of no return in 2019, Ukraine will become independent in the energy sector and we will stop importing gas," he said in an interview with Ukraine’s ICTV channel.
Earlier, Poroshenko said that by the "point of no return" he meant this year’s presidential and parliamentary elections, and the election of a "pro-European president," guaranteeing that the country will never return to its Soviet past.
"The elections will be free, transparent, fair, and this will give us an opportunity to move forward and pass the point of no return to the Soviet Union, the Russian Empire," he said. "The 2019 presidential and parliamentary elections are the point of no return, because the following two events… will take place in Ukraine in 2019 - the creation of a pro-European coalition in Rada (parliament) and the choice in favor of a pro-European president, the commander-in-chief, the guarantor of the citizens’ rights."
According to Poroshenko, this choice will "guarantee that necessary decision are made, that reforms continue and that freedom is the future of the great Ukrainian nation."
Ukraine’s UkrTransGaz company said in early January that Ukraine relied solely on gas imports from EU countries in 2018. The country purchased 10.6 billion cubic meters in total. Slovakia accounted for 61% of gas deliveries to Ukraine, Hungary - for 32% and Poland - for seven percent.
Ukraine stopped purchasing gas directly from Russia in November 2015, and relied on reverse supplies from the European Union instead. The contracts on gas deliveries and transit between Russia’s Gazprom and Ukraine’s Naftogaz, signed in 2009, will expire in late 2019.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak earlier said in an interview with TASS that the gas, which Ukraine gets through reverse supplies from the European Union, is de-facto Russian. At the same time, Ukraine takes on the extra expenses simply for the sake of "not purchasing it from us formally," he said. Novak added that this was not important for Russia, because its gas exports remained the same.