Kiev commits to gas transit to Europe

Pledge comes ahead of trilateral summit in Berlin.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   Sept. 23, 2014 at 9:30 AM
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KIEV, Ukraine, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- The Ukrainian government will ensure natural gas will flow uninterrupted though its territory to the European market, the prime minister said Tuesday.

Members of a European energy council met Tuesday in Kiev to discuss energy security challenges in the European market.

Europe gets about a quarter of its gas needs met by Russia, though more than half of that runs through the Soviet-era transit system in Ukraine. Russian energy company Gazprom in 2006 and 2009 cut gas through Ukraine in response to contractual rows, and ongoing tensions in eastern Ukraine add another layer of risk to European energy security.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said energy solidarity in the European community would lead to advances in energy independence and energy security.

"Ukraine will abide by the Energy Community rules and ensure uninterrupted transit of gas through its territory," he said in a statement.

Ukrainian, Russian and European leaders are scheduled to meet Friday in Berlin to discuss lingering challenges to their trilateral energy ties. European Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger said from Kiev cross-border cooperation among member states was a necessary component of a functioning energy market.

"Our most urgent task is to ensure our common security of energy supply ahead of this winter," he said.

Russia has expressed frustration over Ukraine's mounting gas debt, but said European gas supplies are ensured.

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