The executive director of Ukraine’s national oil and gas company Naftogaz, Yuri Vitrenko, said Kiev would seek $11.8 billion in compensation from Russia’s Gazprom in an arbitration court if Russia halts gas transit via Ukraine starting from 2020.
"If Russia halts transit in 2020, we will seek a compensation of $11.8 billion dollars plus interest," Vitrenko told Ukraine’s ICTV channel on Tuesday, TASS reports.
"We should be ready that there will be no transit of Russian gas starting from January 1, 2020," he said. "This scenario is also being studied."
However, the Naftogaz executive expressed hope that "it won’t run to that."
"Hope our meetings won’t be futile," he said.
The current 10-year contract for the transit of Russian gas through Ukraine expires at the end of this year. By this time, Russia plans to launch two gas pipelines bypassing Ukraine - the Nord Stream 2 and the TurkStream. Ukraine, in turn, has obligations to introduce European energy legislation by the end of the year.
Gazprom submitted an official proposal to Naftogaz of Ukraine on extending the current or concluding a new contract for gas transit through Ukraine for one year, the company’s press service said earlier on Monday. In addition, Gazprom is awaiting the position of the Ukrainian side regarding its readiness to directly purchase Russian gas starting from 2020.
Russia is ready to conclude a transit contract according to European rules, if Ukraine has time to complete all the necessary procedures. As a fallback, the Russian side proposed to extend the current contract for 2020. In addition, Russia is ready to resume gas supplies to Ukraine, which were discontinued in 2015, at a price reduced by 25%.
Ukrainian Energy and Environment Minister Alexei Orzhal said on Monday night the Kiev government rejected those proposals as inadmissible.