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The world does not revolve around Ukraine

22.09.2015 16:06

Irina Dementyeva

Resource-dependent Ukraine dreams of the European Commission to block the "Nord Stream-2" pipeline construction. Meanwhile, it is welcomed by several EU countries, led by Germany. The project will gain realistic contours after the completion of the necessary formalities, in particular, the European Commission should give its opinion on Nord Stream's conformity to the energy strategy and energy security in Europe.

Ukrainian PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk is convinced that the world's policy revolves "around Ukraine", but it is not so by far. Policy of sanctions against Russia gives way to pragmatic thinking. Yatsenyuk saw Europeans' desire to strengthen the energy security of its countries as a disturbing trend: insidious Russia deliberately pursues a policy aimed at stopping the transit of gas through Ukraine. "This is contrary to the stated principles of the European gas market", - said Yatsenyuk with the intonation of a leader who seems to have 'never' violated the principles of the gas market and gas cooperation with other countries.

Ukrainian side's anxiety regarding the "Nord Stream-2" makes it clear that the situation in the national energy sector is very bad, and the upcoming heating season in the country promises a lot of problems.

Showing its stubborness, Kiev refuses to accept favorable price offers from Moscow, but prefers, as they say, "to scratch his right ear with his left hand." "Reversed" or redeemed gas from Europe, used by Ukraine, is much more expensive, while the country's economy would seem to require to tighten the purse. "We are ready to discuss various gas supply cooperation options with Kiev, so the Ukrainian people would safely survive the approaching winter" - Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told reporters in Minsk . However, Kiev authorities are not frightened by winter - their villas will surely be provided with light, heat and hot water...

Ukrainian government dictates the provider - "Gazprom" preferrable prices and conditions, but the head of the group, Miller, has no intention of lending gas and wait months for the debt payment. Failed to fulfill their partnership commitments, Ukraine has repeatedly resorted to blackmail: they even said that they will block the transit pipe. Or one can steal gas or keep the European consumer partners of Russia n suspense. Remember the winter of 2008-2009, when Ukraine blocked the pipe, and Europe went into a state of shock. It is logical that with such negative experiences, Russia solves the problem of gas supply to Europe by building new threads of gas pipeline bypassing problematic Ukrainian territory.

"Gazprom" plans for the construction of "Nord Stream-2" caused violent protest from Yatsenyuk, who strongly disapproves of Russia's actions. At a joint briefing with the Prime Minister of Slovakia Robert Fico, which took place on September 10, the head of the Ukrainian government demanded (!) from the European Commission to block the Russian project (apparently forgot that he's not sitting in his government building). According to him, the construction of a "bypass" pipeline "is contrary to the principles of the European gas market, causes significant damage to Ukraine and Slovakia and keeps EU energy dependent from Russia."

Indeed, the opening of the second branch of the "Nord Stream" will deprive Ukraine of the possibility to transport gas to the EU, which would entail a loss of  2 billion dollars in revenues from transit. Slovak Prime Minister understands his Ukrainian counterpart, supports him and also opposes the "Nord Stream-2", as his country will also be deprived of transit and, consequently, income. "This situation puts two transit countries in plight", - said Robert Fico. He believes that the "EU partners have used Slovakia for their own purposes, and deprived it of the usual income. They have long urged countries to help Ukraine to preserve the transit status by organizing the so-called "small reverse". Slovakia did as requested. However, soon Western gas companies made a contract with "Gazprom" to construct a gas pipeline bypassing Ukraine and, consequently, of Slovakia."

Slovak Prime tactfully kept silent about the fact that the culprit is the "friendly" Ukraine with their short-sighted "stupid" policy, and not Russia, nor the EU.

The idea of building new pipelines did not come as to punish the blackmailer country (Ukraine) (Russia won't go down to that). The matter is of energy security, that European countries want for themselves, those that declared their participation in the Russian project "Nord Stream".

EU learns its lessons. It rememberes that Lithuania now pay one and a half times more than for Russian natural gas having signed a contract with Norwegian Statoil "out of hate". Vilnius' example is instructive, it once again confirms the fact that receiving Russian gas is the most rational solution to the energy problem for Europe.

Because the new thread of the "Nord Stream" will go to Germany and we are talking about the interests of this country, the United States would have difficulties exerting pressure on it. Therefore, the only thing that Ukraine and Slovakia, now being overboard can do is to address complaints to EU HQ in Brussels. Will it soften is a big question.

Ukraine understands this and therefore resorted to its usual tool - blackmail. First Kiev said that it wants to raise gas transit rates several times. Then a new thought was voiced: the European Union should compensate Ukraine for the lost revenue. Europe is once again at an impasse: on the one hand, the need to support Ukrainian partners, but on the other - such help can harm themselves. Another problem is that, no matter how much one finances Ukraine it's of little help.

The new project was just marked and for the next few years Ukraine will of course stay a Russian gas to Europe transit party. But in the long term, the Ukrainian pipeline would probably be disassambled as unnecessary.