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Fico, Yatsenyuk discuss reverse gas flow to Ukraine

PRIME Minister Robert Fico and his Ukrainian counterpart Arseniy Yatsenyuk were discussing the possibilities of gas supplies to Ukraine via reverse flow from Slovakia after the special summit of the European Union held on March 6.

PRIME Minister Robert Fico and his Ukrainian counterpart Arseniy Yatsenyuk were discussing the possibilities of gas supplies to Ukraine via reverse flow from Slovakia after the special summit of the European Union held on March 6.

Fico said that the Slovak side has been working on the possibility of reverse flow for several months, but Ukrainians did not come to sign the memorandum of cooperation, which provided for this possibility in legal terms.

“I asked the prime minister [Yatsenyuk] whether he can guarantee that new Ukrainian operators will act in a standard way, whether there are guarantees that signing of the contract between Eustream [Slovakia’s gas-pipeline operator] and Ukrainian operators is ready,” Fico said, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

Fico specified that without concluding the aforementioned contract between the two countries, gas from Slovakia to Ukrainian territory will not be supplied as the Slovak side needs assurance that Ukrainians will duly pay for it.

In the case of signing agreement, Ukraine will get about 20 million cubic meters of gas per day, which would cost Slovak gas utility Slovenský Plynárenský Priemysel (SPP) an estimated €20 million. However, if the EU assesses that gas supplies through the reverse flow from Slovakia are of strategic importance and not just of a commercial interest for Ukraine, it is expected that the EU would financially contribute to the completion of the measurement stations and other technical equipment needed for the supply of gas.

“Prime Minister Yatsenyuk assured me that there are changes to the relevant Ukrainian gas companies’ leadership taking place and that he will do everything possible to renew negotiations between the Slovak and Ukrainian side,” Fico said, as quoted by TASR.

Yatsenyuk expressed hope that the new leadership in the Ukrainian gas companies will have a different approach than the previous management and will seek to conclude the agreement with Slovakia.

Fico also said that the Council of the European Union considers the current situation in Crimea a violation of the international law and that it condemned the interference with Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity. Therefore it called on Russia to withdraw its troops and allow the international observers enter Crimea, as reported by the SITA newswire.

Presidents and premiers also agreed with suspending the talks over visa liberalisation with Russia as well as the agreement over mutual relations between the EU and Moscow, SITA wrote.

The EU will try to solve the crisis in Crimea through negotiations, but if they do not bring “certain release of tension”, there are other measures, including travel restrictions, freezing the accounts and abolishing the summits between the EU and Russia, ready to be imposed, Fico said. He stressed that Slovakia will support them only if they have no impact on state budget, as reported by SITA.

Source: TASR, SITA

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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