Russia ending gas transit through Ukraine escalates risk of WAR, Kiev’s state gas firm claims as Nord Stream 2 tests continue — RT Russia & Former Soviet Union

https://www.rt.com/russia/539101-ukraine-transit-gas-risk-war/

… Cutting Ukraine off from billions of dollars in Russian gas transit fees by striking new deals to export supplies through pipelines that bypass the country could lead to outright conflict, Kiev’s state gas firm has claimed.

On Monday, in an interview
with the UK’s Financial Times, the head of Naftogaz, Yuriy Vitrenko,
said the new Nord Stream 2 pipeline increased the chance of war between
Ukraine and Russia. According to him, circumventing Kiev could leave the
nation more vulnerable to a Moscow-ordered “invasion.”

The energy boss claimed that if “there is no physical transit [of gas] through Ukraine, this increases the chances of a full-scale war between Russia and Ukraine with all its
consequences.”

Construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline,
which connects the gas fields of Siberia to consumers in Western Europe,
was completed in September. Running from Russia to Germany under the
Baltic Sea, it can transport up to 55 billion cubic meters of gas per
year. It is now undergoing final tests and awaiting approval from
regulators in Berlin to begin operating.



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The same month, Kiev said it would “continue its fight” against the new gas network “until and after its completion,” with the country’s leader, Volodymyr Zelensky, decrying the Russian project as a geopolitical “weapon.”
Kiev has claimed that the pipeline will leave Ukraine at least $3
billion out of pocket in transit fees currently paid by Moscow if the
overground network that runs through the country is no longer needed.
According to him, the move could see the state unable to pay for its
armed forces.

Moscow has insisted there are no plans to
turn off the taps, and that current agreements will be honored. Any
future deals, the Kremlin has added, are a commercial matter for
Gazprom.

The US has consistently supported Ukraine in the row,
imposing sanctions on companies involved in the construction. Ahead of
the completion of the pipeline in September, Russian Foreign Minister
Sergey Lavrov claimed that “there is still a full-frontal attack, in spite of everything, on Nord Stream 2,” despite the fact “everyone knows the Americans have realized [it will be delivered.]”

Amos
Hochstein, a senior adviser on energy security at the US State
Department, called on Kiev in September to look to the future and focus
on advancing its own gas networks, rather than opposing the new Russian
pipeline.

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