Vitrenko: Unblocking Gas Transit through Ukraine Is a Legal Pre-Condition for Nord Stream 2 Certification

Unblocking access of European consumers to purchasing Russian and Central Asian gas on Ukraine’s eastern border and further independent booking of transit capacities is a legal pre-condition for the Nord Stream 2 certification, said Yuriy Vitrenko, Chairman of the Naftogaz Executive Board, on Real Politics with Yevgeny Kiselyov aired on Sunday by Ukraine 24 channel.

Unblocking access of European consumers to purchasing Russian and Central Asian gas on Ukraine’s eastern border and further independent booking of transit capacities is a legal pre-condition for the Nord Stream 2 certification, said Yuriy Vitrenko, Chairman of the Naftogaz Executive Board, on Real Politics with Yevgeny Kiselyov aired on Sunday by Ukraine 24 channel.

“It’s a major diplomatic victory for Ukraine that the US-Germany joint statement has a direct reference saying that Nord Stream 2 must abide by both the letter and the spirit of the EU Third Energy Package, or otherwise, it may not be certified and it may not actually start operating,” he said.

Yuriy Vitrenko reminded that the express requirements of the Third Energy Package include unbundling of the gas pipeline operator from the influence of Gazprom and Putin, as well as providing free access for gas users to purchasing gas and further booking transit capacities (which is possible only if a gas point of sale is located at the exit from the Russian gas transmission system in Ust-Luga).

“What is really important for us: all this must be in line with the principle of solidarity that is embedded in the treaty establishing the European Union. Just recently, there has been a judgement made by the European Court binding the German regulator to apply this principle while certifying gas pipelines. When the German regulator starts the certification procedure for Nord Stream 2, it has to make sure that this gas pipeline will not be in a privileged position compared to others,” said the Naftogaz CEO.

Yuriy Vitrenko stressed that providing free access only to Nord Stream 2, without unblocking of the Ukrainian transit route by Russia, would contravene the principle of solidarity.

“You can’t really give access of third parties only to Nord Stream 2. Because it would make it privileged as compared to other gas pipelines running from Russia to Europe – for example, the one running through Ukraine. The German regulator cannot certify Nord Stream 2 before Russia unblocks the Ukrainian gas pipeline for third parties. That would allow European companies receive gas on the Ukraine-Russia border and then independently book transit capacities through Ukraine,” he said.

As underlined by the Naftogaz CEO, in the international negotiations on Nord Stream 2, Ukraine does not request any political guarantees, but demands strict compliance with laws.

“The Ukrainian strategy is not about asking for some guarantees and then relying on them. We’ve learned our lessons from the bitter experience with the Budapest Memorandum, and now have little faith in this kind of things. We all understand that Gazprom and Putin are trying to use the rule of strength in Europe, while our strength is in the legal justification of our position. We have already had a successful experience winning over Russia with the rule of law in the Stockholm arbitration. Our strategy now is to further rely on the rule of law,” summed up Yuriy Vitrenko.

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