Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed that Russia will implement its liabilities concerning gas transit via Ukraine.
"Despite the present-day difficulties, Russia has certain liabilities under this contract [on gas transit] and, naturally, it will fulfill them in full," Putin told journalists on Tuesday.
He stressed that the issue of gas transit via Ukraine and other gas-related matters should not be linked with the Normandy-format talks on the settlement of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, TASS reports.
"Russia, Gazprom have signed a five-year agreement to pump a certain amount of Russian natural gas to our consumers in Europe via the territory of Ukraine," he recalled.
"The Normandy format and other such formats are political platforms for the discussion of the situation in southeastern Ukraine. It has nothing in common with such commercial projects as Nord Stream, Nord Stream 2, or transit of our gas via Ukraine," he said, commenting on Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s initiative to discuss the Nord Stream 2 project during the future meeting of the Normandy Quartet leaders (Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine).
Nord Stream 2 is an international project for the construction of a gas pipeline that will run across the bottom of the Baltic Sea from the Russian coast to Germany bypassing transit states, such as Ukraine, Belarus, Poland and other Eastern European and Baltic countries.
The new 1,230-kilometer pipeline, basically following the same route as Nord Stream, traverses the economic zones and territorial water of five countries, namely Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Germany.
Works under the project were suspended in December 2019 after Allseas, a Swiss company laying the pipes for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, suspended pipe-laying works over possible US sanctions and recalled its ships. Works were resumed in December 2020.
Matthias Warnig, managing director of Nord Stream 2 AG, the project operator, said in an interview with the Handelsblatt newspaper in July that the construction works could be finished already in August and the company sees it as its goal to commission the pipeline this year.
In December 2019, Moscow and Kiev reached an agreement to continue transit of Russian gas via Ukraine in 2020-2024 with a possible extension of the agreement. The contract provided for the transit of 65 billion cubic meters of gas in 2020 and 40 billion cubic meters a year in a period from 2021 to 2024. The agreement is based on the Take or Pay principle when payment for gas transit does not depend on actual volume of pumping.