At first, the EU called for a new gas deal between Russia and Ukraine. Now Ukrainian state-owned gas company Naftogaz is also calling on its Russian supplier Gazprom for more favorable conditions.

By Gerald Traufetter

The Russian corporation Gazprom is obstructing the delivery of natural gas from Western Europe to Ukraine. The state-owned gas corporation is blocking the gas flow from the West at one of the gas pipeline’s connection points near the border between Slovakia and Ukraine. They justify this by referring to an agreement with the Slovakian government from 1999.

“Without this blockade all our gas imports would be coming from the West, making us independent from Russian gas”, claims Andriy Kobolev, head of the Ukrainian gas corporation Naftogaz. The arrangement impinges “regulations by the European Energy Union” and has to be revised. Kobolev refers to the geostrategic importance of the connection to the Western gas network. Through reversal of the direction of the gas flow between Russia, Ukraine and Western Europe, in 2015, 90 percent of natural gas can be received from Europe, Kobolev said. In order to achieve this, the argument with Gazprom has to be resolved.

Ukraine’s biggest suppliers are the Norwegian corporation Statoil and the German energy giant RWE. The latter receives gas from Russia.

Back in 2013, 95 percent of Ukrainian gas imports were coming from Russia.