Gas crisis warded off

Russia and Ukraine signed a deal on gas transit on Monday, December 30, one day before the previous 10-year contract expired. They have thus averted the feared interruption in supplies of Russian gas to Europe.

The Russian state-controlled gas facility Gazprom and its Ukrainian counterpart Naftogaz signed the deal for five years. The European Union was worried that Russian supplies through Ukraine could be suspended if the current deal expired without a new agreement in place, the Reuters newswire noted. EU countries receive approximately 40 percent of their gas from Russia, the SITA newswire reported.

This was also a concern in Slovakia, which experienced a major gas crisis in 2009, when the contract expired and Russia and Ukraine took 13 days to sign a new 10-year deal. This time around, the country was better prepared for a potential cut in supplies, also thanks to measures put in place ten years ago.

“Europe knows that we won’t fail it in terms of energy security,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on his Facebook account as quoted by Reuters. He said Ukraine would get at least USD7 billion during the five years of the deal.

Slovakia's EU Commissioner Maros Sefocovic called the news about the contract, along with the signing of an interconnection agreement between Ukraine and Slovakia, "great news for Europe's energy security".

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