Russia is ready to hold consultations with Ukraine on the transit of gas through its territory, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday, according to the official website of the country's ministry of foreign affairs.
In response to questions on the controversial bypassing of Ukraine for gas transfers at a joint news conference following talks with his German counterpart Heiko Maas, Lavrov said Russia is not against keeping a certain amount of transit through Ukraine via the soon-to-be-operational Nord Stream II project.
He argued that the project should be economically justified rather than politically imposed and added, 'We are ready for such consultations with Ukraine.'
On April 11, the CEO of Russian gas giant Gazprom, Alexei Miller said the transfer of Russian gas through Ukraine would not cease but would eventually drop to 10-15 billion cubic meters (bcm) per year.
'However, the Russian resource base has been moving northward and there won’t be the same resources in the central gas transportation corridor as in the past,' Miller warned.
He also added that Ukraine would need to justify the viability of a new transit contract.
Gazprom plans to decrease transit through Ukraine by activating both the Nord Stream II and the TurkStream gas pipeline projects in the coming years.
The Nord Stream II natural gas pipeline project plans to deliver Russian gas to Europe through the Baltic Sea with a capacity of 55 billion cubic meters per year.
However, many European countries such as Denmark, Poland and Lithuania oppose the Nord Stream II, as they claim that it will increase Russian influence in Europe's energy markets.
In November 2017, the Danish Parliament approved a law that gave authorities the power to prohibit the construction of Nord Stream II in the territorial waters of the country.
The TurkStream project is a direct pipeline from Russia to Turkey with 15.75 bcm of gas capacity set aside for Turkey's use while a second line with the same 15.75 bcm of capacity is planned for Europe's needs.
By Firdevs Yuksel