Russian President Vladimir Putin assured US President Donald Trump of Russia's readiness to preserve gas transit via after the completion of construction of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline bypassing Ukraine, adding that Gazprom will extend the gas transit contract with Naftogaz of Ukraine after 2019, but only if the gas dispute is settled in the Stockholm Arbitration, an UNIAN correspondent in Russia reports.
"Mr. President [Donald Trump] expressed concerns over the possible disappearance of transit via Ukraine. I assured him that we were ready to go on with the transit via Ukraine and we are ready to extend the [transit] contract, which is about to expire next year, if the issues are resolved in the Stockholm Court of Arbitration between the economic entities, Gazprom and Naftogaz," Putin told a joint news conference with Donald Trump following the talks between the two leaders in Helsinki.As UNIAN reported, the current transit contract between Ukraine and Gazprom was signed in 2009 for a period of 10 years. After it expires (starting 2020), the Russian gas monopoly intends to minimize gas transit via the territory of Ukraine. At the end of February 2018, Gazprom lost a gas dispute to Naftogaz in the Stockholm Arbitration, having been obliged to pay the Ukrainian company 2.56bn dollars. Also, the Russian company should supply 10bn cu.m. of gas to Ukraine in 2018-2019 at prices equal to those on gas hubs in Germany.