Russian Foreign Ministry objects to EU-Ukraine gas declaration
Moscow, 23 March: An official spokesman of the Russian Foreign Ministry has criticized several provisions of the declaration adopted in Brussels on Monday (23 March) following the EU-Ukraine international conference on investment in upgrading Ukraine's gas transportation system.
Some of the provisions of the joint declaration, which - among other things - envisage the possibility of increasing tariffs for the transportation of natural gas, "can result in that gas may become more expensive for Ukrainian and European consumers", a comment released by the Russian Foreign Ministry's official spokesman on Monday said.
The comment said that any action to modernize Ukraine's gas transportation system that had not been agreed with Russia "would result in an increase in technological risks and possible disruptions in the supplies of natural gas to Ukraine and Europe".
The comment said that the Russian side had actively prepared for the conference. "We proceeded from the understanding that its outcomes could reinforce the positive forms of cooperation in solving the issue of the transportation of gas through Ukrainian territory and make it possible to reach new agreements in the Russia-EU-Ukraine format in the interests of maintaining energy security in Europe," the statement said.
It continued: "Unfortunately, the organizers of the event chose another path, having in effect excluded us from the tripartite format of the conference." (Passage omitted)
The comment said: "Russia stands for the rigorous compliance with long-term contracts on a transparent and economically justified basis."
"Ukraine's gas transportation system, through which up to 80 per cent of the transit of Russian natural gas to Europe goes, is technologically linked to the Russian gas transportation system. Therefore any actions to modernize it that had not been agreed with Russia will result in an increase in technological risks and possible disruptions in the supplies of natural gas to Ukraine and Europe. This is not Russia's choice," the comment said. The Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman went on to add: "It is obvious that the modernization of the transit system requires the involvement of all the sides taking part in the transit of gas: suppliers, transit parties and consumers."
"That was the Russian side's understanding when it accepted the invitation to take part in the said conference. Judging from the declaration, Russia's participation in these efforts was not part of the EU's plan.
Therefore we would like to remind our European partners that Article 65 of the Russia-EU Partnership and Cooperation Agreement directly speaks of the importance of cooperation in the modernization of the energy infrastructure," the comment said.
It went on to add that "actions like these can hardly be seen as aimed to strengthen cooperation between the European Union and Russia".
"In addition, the joint declaration adopted in Brussels does not take into account gas agreements reached between Russia and Ukraine, in particular, on creating an international consortium for the development and management of Ukraine's gas transportation system, based on the 2002 statement by the president of the Russian Federation, the president of Ukraine and the German chancellor. Thus the idea of creating this consortium aimed to strengthen European energy security has been put under threat," the comment said.
"Russia proceeds from the understanding that energy cooperation is one of the most important pillars of security in Europe. We consistently stand for the development of multifaceted partnership in this sphere on the basis of taking into account the interests of suppliers, consumers and transit countries. Therefore any agreements that do not take into account the interdependency of these interests can lead to the disorganization of energy cooperation and the emergence of division lines in this sphere," the Russian Foreign Ministry's statement said.