By Olga Tokariuk
Kiev, Oct 12 (EFE).- The European Union and Ukraine will work together on the issue of energy security, the leaders of the bloc and Ukraine’s president said following an EU-Ukraine summit in Kiev.
“We support Ukraine on the issue of energy security, and we understand Ukraine’s concerns about the lowering of gas supplies by Gazprom,” the European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said. “Ukraine remains and must remain a reliable gas transit country.”
“The EU and Ukraine stressed the importance of working together against any potential efforts by third parties to use energy as a weapon, in particular as regards the effects on the sustainability of gas transit through Ukraine,” according to the summit’s final statement.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyi said Ukraine was determined to keep the transit of Russian gas going through its territory even after the Russian-German North Stream 2 pipeline, which bypasses Ukraine, becomes operational. Kiev sees the pipeline as a security threat.
“It is important to maintain the gas transit through our territory, because nobody wants to lose 2 bln dollars in lawful transit fees. We discussed the possibility of applying the EU Third energy package regulation to the North Stream 2,” Ukraine’s president said.
The current gas transit contract between Kiev and Moscow expires in 2024. Germany has pledged to help Ukraine to secure its extension, but Russia so far showed little interest in doing so.
Zelenskyi said Ukraine and the EU will launch a high-level strategic dialogue in order “to develop a common long-term vision of European energy security” and that Ukraine was working together with the EU on the transition to green energy.
In a joint statement following the summit, the EU and Ukraine reaffirmed their commitment to “strengthening the political association and economic integration of Ukraine with the European Union, on the basis of the Association Agreement and its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area.”
At the briefing, president Zelenskyi called on the EU to give Ukraine a clear membership perspective. He said it was the will of Ukrainian people to see “a finish line” on the country’s path towards EU integration. “Accepting Ukraine into the EU would be a logical and long-awaited step,” he stressed.