Ukraine Gas: In a tense standoff, European war aid to Ukraine is stalled due to Slovakia and Hungary refusing to release $52 billion. The European Commission persists in convincing both nations to approve the war funding. Meanwhile, Ukraine, in its characteristic style, has resorted to threats.
Kyiv has warned Europe, signaling intentions to secure funds, and that too for the long term.
Ukraine national gas company, NJSC “Naftogaz of Ukraine,” has declared its refusal to extend the transit of Russian gas beyond the 2024 contract expiration. Chairman Oleksiy Chernyshov confirmed this decision, attributing it to Russia’s alleged non-compliance with the contract terms.
Specifically, “Gazprom” has not paid for gas delivery through the “Sokhranivka” gas measuring station in occupied territory.
Despite financial constraints, Naftogaz has upheld transit obligations and initiated legal action against Gazprom. The gas transit, vital for certain European partners’ winter preparations, continues, but Ukraine has issued a clear ultimatum.
EU’s Gas Dilemma: Ukraine Backing Off
And in its typical style, Ukraine accuses Russia of contractual violations, for the situation to erupt. Naftogaz’s inability to extend the contract presents a challenge for the European Union. While the EU plans to phase out Russian gas consumption by 2027, global uncertainties hinder alternatives.
Firstly there are limited options for alternatives. Secondly, several member states don’t want to swiftly move away from the Russian gas. The EU faces a dilemma: dependence on the Ukrainian transit point persists, highlighting the urgency for a resolution.
Chernyshov expresses Naftogaz’s limitations, emphasizing that someone must bear the financial burden. Ukraine plans to raise concern over the payments next months and expects the EU to take action.
You Pay Up: Is this What Zelensky Meant?
In short, Ukraine wants the EU to pay for Russian gas to Ukraine. Smart move indeed.
In addition, this announcement gains significance due to its timing. This subtle threat came at a time when the 27 Bloc Members held a meeting to discuss further war assistance to Ukraine. During the European Union summit, where the agenda was being deliberated, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy addressed the summit via videoconference.
However, EU leaders shifted focus to the Israel-Hamas conflict and did not revisit the issue of Russia’s war in Ukraine until the summit’s closing day. Notably, Slovakia and Hungary had also rejected the EU’s proposal for a $52 billion war assistance plan for Ukraine.
And so, Ukraine came up with such a daunting threat. Ukraine’s recent ultimatum to close the transit point raises concerns amid ongoing EU support since the 2022 war’s onset. Despite this backing, President Zelenskyy’s willingness to estrange the EU is puzzling.
His call for a long-term deal illustrates Ukraine’s eagerness to maintain ties, however, the changing global dynamics is constraining its influence.