by Myroslav Shcherbyna
Physicist Bohdan Sokolovskyi, energy security adviser to former president Yushchenko, believes it is very important that no Ukrainian hryvnias to be used to support continued Russian aggression against Ukraine.
Ukraine must introduce tough sanctions against Russia. This is within its political will. The main thing is not to allow any Ukrainian hryvnias to be used to support Russia’s continued aggression against Ukraine, Bohdan Sokolovskyi commented to UNN, August 8.
“Today Ukraine will announce the introduction of economic sanctions against Russia. The energy sector should be included as well. Ukraine has not been consuming Russian gas since June. But this issue will remain relevant for as long as the annexation of Crimea continues,” Sokolovskyi said.
According to Sokolovskyi, the first winter will be most difficult. “It is August already, and the issue of reverse gas flows has stalled. We should have taken care of agreements on the reverse gas flow delivery immediately after the annexation of Crimea. Now we can expect volumes of 5 to 9 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas till the end of the year. That is not sufficient. In subsequent years, we can go up to 15-16 bcm of reverse gas which will be enough,” he explained.
Sokolovskyi pointed out that Ukraine consumes about 50 bcm of gas at a time when neighboring Poland, similar in size and population, even if somewhat smaller, consumes only 14-16 bcm. “Can you appreciate the difference in consumption between Poland and Ukraine? This is where reserves are hidden. We absolutely have to use gas very rationally, using all possible alternative technologies. Some 23-24 bcm of gas out the 50 bcm (is used by industry). This is exactly where we should look for opportunities to save,” he said.
“Industry in the the USSR was designed to meet the needs of the entire union as well as the military appetites of the Kremlin. These industrial giants have been taken over by the oligarchs. The Ukrainian economy, as misaligned as it was, has remained the same. This is the main problem. The economy must be reformed,” he said.
Sokolovskyi believes that the Ukrainian government shares the blame, since for more than 20 years it has not taken care of structural changes. “Why do the residents of eastern Ukraine fear that things will be bad with EU integration? They worry that the factories of the local oligarchs will turn out to be uncompetitive and that people will be thrown out on the street. We need to recognize that Ukraine has not paid attention to the East, and that new production in the field of IT technology, road construction and so on has not yet arrived here,” he said.
“I support the rejection of Russian gas. As long as there is war, as long as the annexation of Crimea continues, this would be logical. How can we possibly pay huge sums to the aggressor who will then use them against us? They will arm the occupying troops in Crimea and the militants in the Donbas. Yes, Russian gas is the closest and most convenient for Ukraine. However, renewed cooperation will be possible only after the end of the annexation and the cessation of war provocations in eastern Ukraine,” he concluded.
As previously reported, on Friday, August 8, the government of Ukraine will announce its own package of sanctions against Russia. Justice Minister of Ukraine, Pavlo Petrenko, has announced that these sanctions are designed to deter the neighboring state from continuing its military aggression in the Donbas.
According to Ukrainian experts in the energy sector, by buying almost 30 bcm of Russian gas a year in the past, Ukraine contributed US $12bn annually to the finances of the neighboring state. This cash flow has now stopped.
Translated by Anna Mostovych