Russian President Vladimir Putin has assured U.S. President Donald Trump that Moscow will keep the transit route of natural gas to Europe via Ukraine, Russia’s president said at the joint news conference after the two leaders’ summit in Helsinki.
Russia and its gas giant Gazprom are planning another natural gas pipeline to Western Europe—the highly controversial Nord Stream 2 to Germany, a twinning of the already operational Nord Stream pipeline.
The Russian-led project has received a lot of criticism by the European Union (EU), and lately by U.S. President Trump. Several EU countries and the European Commission fear that Nord Stream 2 would further boost Russia’s dominance on the European gas market. For Russia, apart from an additional export outlet for its gas in Europe, the Nord Stream 2 route allows it to bypass the transit route via Ukraine for supplies to Europe.
Speaking at the joint news conference on Monday, Putin said:
“Then, about the Nord Stream 2, Mr. President voiced his concerns about the possibility of disappearance of transit through Ukraine. And I reassured Mr. President that Russia stands ready to maintain this transit. Moreover, we stand ready to extend this transit contract that is about to expire next year, in case — if the dispute between the economic entities dispute will be settled in the Stockholm Arbitration Court.”
Gazprom and Ukraine’s gas company Naftogaz are currently locked in a bitter dispute over natural gas deliveries, pricing, and payments.
President Trump, for his part, said that the United States will be “selling LNG and we’ll have to be competing with the pipeline. And I think we’ll compete successfully, although there is a little advantage locationally. So I just wish them luck. I mean, I did. I discussed with Angela Merkel in pretty strong tones. But I also know where they’re all coming from. And they have a very close source. So we’ll see how that all works out.”
“And I think we’ll be out there competing very strongly,” President Trump added.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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