War Alert: Ukraine Threatens Russia With ‘Full-Scale Conflict’ Over Gas Transit
Ukraine has threatened Russia with a full-scale conflict if there are cuts to Kiev’s Gazprom gas transits through the territory of Ukraine. “The likelihood of a full-scale conflict between Russian and Ukraine,” is increasing, and European nations should be aware of the geopolitical consequences for the whole world, said the commercial director at Ukraine’s main gas company.
Kiev has warned Moscow of “geopolitical consequences” if the gas ceases. “If there is no transit through the territory of Ukraine, then the likelihood of a full-scale conflict between Russia and Ukraine is also increasing. European politicians need to understand not only the economic consequences for Ukraine but also geopolitical consequences for the whole world,” the commercial director at Ukraine’s main gas company Naftogaz Yuri Vitrenko told the 112 Ukraine TV channel.
According to RT, the gas-transit contract between Kiev and Moscow expires in 2019 and Gazprom said on Tuesday that the contract will not be extended under any circumstances. The company added that the gas transit may remain, but only if Ukraine provides the necessary conditions for it. “Now the ball is on the Ukrainian side. It should justify the economic attractiveness and the possibility of transit through Ukraine,” said Gazprom Deputy Chairman of the Management Committee Aleksandr Medvedev.
Russia wants to significantly cut its gas transit through Ukraine and re-direct it through the extension of the existing Nord Stream pipeline from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea. Moscow has alleged that Kiev has proved itself an unreliable partner in gas transits over the years. Moscow has repeatedly said Ukraine will lose its status as a key transit hub to Europe once the gas-transit contract expires. Russia wants to bypass Ukraine by doubling the capacity of the Nord Stream pipeline under the Baltic Sea.
Some of the gas to Europe could also come through the Turkish Stream pipeline, currently under construction. When the two pipelines mentioned are completed, transit through Ukraine is expected to fall by more than 80 percent, according to Gazprom CEO Aleksey Miller. He added that Gazprom does not intend to help neighboring countries restore their economies at its own expense.
Kiev’s threats for a full-scale conflict with Russia do not appear to be affecting how Gazprom is altering the gas-transits.