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Russia and Ukraine sign gas transit contract | TIME ONLINE

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Russia and the Ukraine have signed a contract for gas transit to supply Europe. The Russian state-owned company Gazprom and the Ukrainian energy supplier Naftogaz signed the agreement after days of negotiations. With the signing possible bottlenecks in the energy supply of several European countries in winter were averted. The current contract expires on Tuesday.

It is the first agreement between Kiev and Moscow after more than five years of total confrontation in the Ukraine conflict. The transit contract is valid for five years. It ensures that Europe and especially Germany are supplied with gas. Around 18 percent of total gas consumption in the European Union comes from Russia and is headed through Ukraine. Russia and Ukraine had already announced the agreement through the mediation of the EU and Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier on December 19.

In future, however, the transit quantities will be significantly lower than in the past, which means less income from transit fees for Ukraine. Instead of the roughly 90 billion cubic meters a year to date, only 65 billion Russian gas should flow through Ukraine in 2020 Europe be pumped. From 2021 to 2024, 40 billion cubic meters of gas are planned for transit each year. Ukraine will receive at least $ 7 billion during the term. The money gives the chronically clammy country more socio-political scope.

Treaty also with Bulgaria

Also Bulgaria was able to reach an agreement with the Russian Gazprom group. As of January, the country plans to have Russian gas supplied to it via the controversial TurkStream pipeline. In the future, the Russian gas will be delivered to a terminal on the border with Turkey. This saves Bulgaria transit fees of the equivalent of 35 million euros a year, which it has so far paid to Romania, the Bulgarian Ministry of Energy justified the decision for the new delivery route. In this way, the gas price in Bulgaria could be reduced by five percent.

TurkStream is scheduled to go into operation in January, supplying Turkey and Europe with Russian natural gas on its way through the Black Sea, thus bypassing Ukraine. TurkStream, like the planned Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which is to transport Russian gas through the Baltic Sea to Germany and thus also bypass the Ukraine, is a subject of intense international controversy. The United States recently imposed sanctions on companies involved in both pipeline projects. The reasons for the punitive measures include the protection of the gas transit country Ukraine.

However, Bulgaria faced a serious supply emergency ten years ago during a Russian-Ukrainian crisis that led to an interruption in gas supply. The country is now trying to reduce its dependence on Russian gas. Last spring, Bulgaria started building a pipeline that will deliver gas from the Caspian Sea to Greece in the future.

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