Though Norway in June overtook Russia in total exports of natural gas to Europe, the balance of Russian gas to Europe comes through Ukraine, which itself is dependent upon Russia for 60% of its current gas consumption.
While Ukraine controls the transit of 90% of its gas to Europe, Russia is consistently trying to use its gas exports to Ukraine to gain greater control of the Ukraine transit system, which itself deems a strategic asset. The struggle for control of export to Europe and Ukraine’s own struggle to increase domestic production and move closer to Europe, with an European Association Agreement set to be signed in November this year, has put extreme stress not only on the energy independence of Ukraine but of Europe as a whole.
From an energy geostrategic standpoint, Europe needs Ukraine to move closer to Europe, “but for all its planning, Europe also knows retribution, in the shape of an energy squeeze, is likely from Russia.
Moscow, which has a long-standing disagreement with Ukraine over gas, has said it will raise Ukraine's gas prices and officials do not rule out it doing the same for the EU, which gets nearly 40% of its gas from Russia. “The EU should not look at Ukraine as a business opportunity alone, particularly in light of currently lagging gas demand, but should examine the long-term future of European energy security and the key role Ukraine will continue to play in it. Partnership with the EU is…