Ukraine is criticizing Hungary for signing a deal with Russian Gazprom. They call it nothing more than a political decision.
The Ukrainian government is fighting against Nord Stream 2 to keep gas transit of Russian gas through Ukraine. On September 27th, Hungary signed a 15-year contract with the Russian company Gazprom, which provides Russian gas to Hungary through Serbia and Austria, which means that the gas will be bypassing Ukraine as a transit country.
“Today, the reality is that Hungary’s energy needs can be secured in the safest way by a long-term contract with Gazprom,” said Hungary’s foreign affairs minister Péter Szijjártó and pointed out that the deal, which will supply 4.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas – around half of Hungary’s gas consumption, will economically secure Hungary.
Ukraine, however, is of another opinion and stands to lose money in gas transit fees. The Ukrainian government will, therefore, check the legality of the deal with the European Commission. Ukraine believes that the agreement doesn’t respect the EU’s energy legislation.
“We view this as nothing but a political, economically unfounded decision, which has been made to the benefit of the Kremlin and to the detriment of national interests of Ukraine and Ukrainian-Hungarian relations, in violation of the principles of the Treaty of Neighborliness and Cooperation between Ukraine and the Hungarian Republic dated December 6, 1991,” said the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry in a statement.
Unclear what will happen
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry also wrote that they will delay the next meeting with Hungary in the Ukrainian-Hungarian Intergovernmental Economic Cooperation, planned soon.
“Earlier today, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry initiated a delay of the Commission meeting, considering that the Hungarian-Russian gas agreement will have a substantial influence on the energy security of Ukraine and Europe, and will create new circumstances that require a comprehensive analysis of risks and threats and coordinated efforts of countries of the region in order to minimize its negative implications,” the statement said.
The deal will take effect from the 1st of October, and it is unclear whether the Ukrainian reaction will make any difference for Hungary.
Still fighting Nord Stream 2
Ukrainenu recently wrote about how Ukraine is still trying to fight Nord Stream 2, which recently was completed. The completion of the Russian Nord Stream 2 doubles the capacity of the existing Nord Stream pipeline to the EU. Ukraine has been against the project as it makes it possible for Russia to bypass Ukraine. Today, much Russian gas is going through Ukraine but isn’t necessary anymore with the completion of Nord Stream 2.
Germany plays a big role in Nord Stream 2, and chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz from the Social Democratic Party recently said that Ukraine has to remain a gas transit country.
“Now, everyone should ensure that the guarantees associated with this project (Nord Stream 2) are accepted by everyone. The guarantees include that Ukraine remains a transit country and that we make sure that the gas supplies to some Eastern European countries, for example, are not jeopardized by Russia if it says that it no longer wants to serve this structure. We take this absolutely seriously and will be committed to it,” Scholz said.
In the interview, Scholz also said that his priority is to strengthen the EU and further integration into the EU is possible if countries fulfill the requirements.