"The Kremlin is blackmailing Europe. They are deepening the gas deficit in Europe, for example, by diminishing gas transit through Ukraine by 1.5 times over the past year. As a result, gas prices in Europe are reaching record-breaking new highs. In this situation, the Kremlin says: if you want more gas, let us launch Nord Stream 2," Vitrenko stated.
Vitrenko added that Gazprom is already able to significantly increase gas supplies to the EU through Ukraine. "The Kremlin says European companies have to buy more gas and so, the problem is that European companies refuse to buy gas. It is not true. And it's easy to check, "said Vitrenko.
He stressed that the real picture of European consumer demand for gas is easy to see by looking at gas sales at the transmission point on the eastern border of Ukraine.
"Then Gazprom's European counterparties will be able to book transit capacity through Ukraine on their own. There are definitely no problems on our side, everything is visible and accessible. The fact that Gazprom does not do so indicates that it is abusing its dominant position in the European market, artificially limiting supply, and effectively blocking third party access to transit pipelines. Gazprom does not play by European rules and continues to use gas as a geopolitical weapon against Europe and Ukraine," he said.
Vitrenko also cautioned against myths about the flow of additional Russian gas into the European market immediately after the launch of Nord Stream 2.
"Following the launch of Nord Stream 2, Gazprom can switch volumes of gas transportation through Ukraine to this new gas pipeline. That doesn’t mean there will be more gas. In reality, the route will change. Under the current agreement, Gazprom must pay for 40 bcm of booked capacity through the territory of Ukraine. Putin says they will comply with this agreement. But these requirements are set on a "ship or pay" principle, regardless of the actual volume of transportation. That is, you can pay and not ship. So there may not be physical transit volumes through Ukraine with the launch of Nord Stream 2, " summed up the Naftogaz CEO.