Moscow and Kiev have reached an agreement that guarantees gas supplies to Ukraine until the end of this month after the EU pursued a role of a broker in the negotiations on Monday (2 March). The deal will also ensure the continuity of gas deliveries to Europe. Gazprom, Russia’s state-run gas giant, warned last week that it could halt its deliveries to Ukraine and instead send stocks to the rebels in the east of the country. Maros Sefcovic, EU Commission Vice-President for Energy Union, said that he was satisfied that the EU “managed to safeguard the full application of the Winter Package for the supply needs in Ukraine”.
The winter package was the initial agreement that Brussels brokered earlier and that should have secured Russian gas deliveries to Ukraine until March 31. Mr Sefcovic added that all sides also agreed “to take up trilateral negotiations on the follow-up to the Winter Package.” He also said in a statement that he was reassured that “the supply of gas to the EU markets remains secure.” The Monday deal emerged after five hours of negotiations between Mr Sefcovic, Ukrainian Energy Minister, Volodymyr Demchyshyn, and his Russian counterpart, Alexander Novak. Moscow and Kiev also agreed that they would leave out the question of the gas supply to the rebel areas of Lugansk and Donetsk for the time being.
As the EU statement later explained – the issue is “highly complex in legal, technical and political terms.” Before this month is over, the trio will have met again to start negotiations on the so-called Summer Package. The success of the negotiations has been embraced by the EU leadership including EU Foreign Policy chief, Federica Mogherini. She welcomed the agreement saying that “the outcome of the talks on energy issues can help bridge differences over the supply of gas between Ukraine and Russia”.