Ukraine is lobbying with its Western allies for the redirection of Russian gas flows from the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to the pipeline that runs through its territory, Reuters has reported, citing energy officials.
According to the report, Ukrainian lobbyists have argued that the more gas Russia transports via its pipeline, the more transit fees the government in Kiyv will collect, helping it fund the war. At the same time, the shift would, according to them, prevent Russia from damaging Ukrainian pipeline infrastructure.
The idea was floated during a visit of Ukrainian officials to Washington, where they sought to convince the White House to lobby for the shift to Germany and the wider EU.
Current Russian gas flows via Ukraine stand at some 40 billion cubic meters annually. This compares with 55 billion cubic meters moved via the Nord Stream 1, which ends in Germany.
Trying to shift flows would, according to legal experts, constitute a breach of contract. It would also do “nothing to increase security of supply to Europe,” according to former State Department special envoy David Goldwyn, who spoke to Reuters.
The Ukrainian government has been urging Europe to stop importing oil and gas from Russia, arguing this would exsanguinate Moscow financially and help Ukraine win the war. However, while the EU has been generous with all sorts of material support, it has proved quite reluctant to do what Ukraine wants with regard to energy imports.
Brussels did commit to reducing its imports of Russian natural gas by two-thirds by the end of the year, but Ukraine is insisting on import suspension right now. The EU is also discussing an oil embargo, which will also likely take effect gradually after a grace period so that importers can stock up on the commodity.