Ukraine could not guarantee the supply of gas for Bulgaria during the winter as all guarantees are in the hands of Russia’s Gazprom Company. The EU Commission must assume a firmer position vis-a-vis the wishes of the Russian company. This was what Mykhaylo Honchar, a member of the Ukrainian team which conducts the gas negotiations with Russia, told Bulgarian National Radio on 25 October.
“Ukraine has no contractual relations with companies in Europe, including Bulgaria, thus it is unable to guarantee the gas supply. All guarantees are in the hands of “Gazprom” because it has signed the contracts with its European partners and with Bulgaria. Precisely because of it the guarantees on the part of Ukraine have only technical character, related to the volume of gas that enters our system and the quantity of gas that leaves the system” Honchar told Bulgarian National Radio.
A significant progress has been marked at the negotiations in Brussels despite the fact that the Russian position has clearly indicated that Russia was not interested in reaching any agreements, Honchar said further on 25 October.
According to him, the Russian side was by all means protracting the negotiations, something that indicated that it was not interested in their successful completion, but rather in their failure.
“All this is done with the purpose of applying pressure on the European partners in order to prompt the construction of the ‘South Stream’ gas pipeline project. To be honest – this has been why the entire armed campaign against Ukraine has been conducted. When in 2009 Russia accused Ukraine of being the main culprit for the gas crisis – the Russian claim has not corresponded to the truth at all, because Ukraine was precisely transmitting the quantity of gas Russia was allocating. Therefore, the current situation was identical. If Russia protracts the negotiations and rejects both the proposals of Ukraine and the EU Commission, it could mean only one thing, namely, that Russia has been planning a third gas crisis aimed at repeating the pattern of the 2009 crisis,” Honchar said on 25 October.
According to him, the gas supply negotiations could have a far greater success if the EU Commission assumed a firmer position towards the wishes of “Gazprom.”
“In order to avoid the problems the EU must work out a consolidated position towards Russia. If this materializes then we would have the chance of surviving the coming winter and compelling ‘Gazprom‘ to act in a reasonable manner. If the EU demonstrated a weakness – and precisely this has been what we have seen in recent months – Russia, naturally, would act according to a script aimed at destabilizing the situation, because it has several strategic goals and one of them, which directly affects Bulgaria, was unfreezing the ‘South Stream’ gas pipeline construction, while in practice this projects harms the EU’s energy security,” Mkhaylo Honchar told Bulgarian National Radio on 25 October.