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Russia may again cause gas crisis in Europe – Naftogaz CEO

CEO of NJSC Naftogaz of Ukraine Andriy Kobolyev says Russia, when concluding a new gas transit contract with Ukraine, will try to repeat the trick of 2009, when gas supplies through the Ukrainian corridor to European consumers were cut off to promote the idea of the Nord Stream 2 project.

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“Their plan is very simple – the change of government [after the elections in Ukraine]. And, perhaps, with the new government it will be possible to continue the old deal, which is not only uninteresting for us, but it also contradicts Ukrainian and European legislation. Of course, in late December, when it’s cold and there is no new contract, the Russian will most likely try to play the same trick that was in 2009 when gas supplies via the Ukrainian corridor to European consumers were cut off. This will cause a crisis,” he told a Svoboda Slova [Freedom of Speech] panel show on Ukraine’s ICTV channel on February 11, according to the news outlet Novoye Vremya.

Kobolyev added that Russia would try to use the crisis to promote the idea of Nord Stream 2.

“I think the promotion of this idea is one of the strategic goals of our opponents,” he said.

Naftogaz’s CEO also admitted that the launch of the Nord Stream 2 and Turkish Stream gas pipelines, along with the complete termination of gas transit through the Ukrainian territory, might give free rein to Russia – the country that annexed Crimea and occupied part of Donbas – to continue military aggression.

“This has nothing to do with the gas business, this is a strategic goal. They have systematically been working on it since 2005. Diverting gas transit from the territory of Ukraine and speaking about the security that everyone is interested in, Russia is opening the way to full aggression,” he said.