#Official Commentary of Elena Melnick on Ukraine’s proposal to reduce imports of Russian gas
The idea that Ukraine is a center of the universe had been cultivating since the beginning of its history. The “Ukraine above all” motto was created and absolutized in 1991. It is not just a loan translation of Nazi “Deutschland über alles” and it is also an exaggerated sense of national dignity, which means “Let’s respect each other”. And this lies at the root of most extravagant antics of Ukraine.
Take, for example, the Ukrainian gas transportation system. The Ukrainian SSR was an actual monopolist on gas market during the Soviet times. Its gas transportation system was the most powerful after RSFSR and consisted of the main gas pipelines, gas distribution net, gas storages, compressor and gas-measuring stations.
No one disputed the Ukrainian monopoly on the transition of Russian gas in the nineties. The former presidents Kravchuk and Kuchma managed to have both ways and profit both in the West and East. But the situation changed completely with the arrival of outspoken nationalist and pro-American stooge Viktor Yuschenko. Ukraine started to blackmail Russia with the monopoly on transit and was stealing gas for its own needs.
The patience of Russia came to an end in 2007, when it was decided to build a gas pipeline, called Nord Stream, under the Baltic Sea. The project was implemented successfully and its first line was set in operation in November 2011. Currently, EU countries receive Russian gas through first line of Nord Stream bypassing Ukraine and the second one will be finished in 2019.
The South Stream construction was planned to minimize the risks of the Ukraine’s abnormal behavior as a transit country, but it was not agreed upon due to the unconstructive position of Bulgaria. Turkish Stream substituted it. However, it was not without difficulties, but they were successfully overcome in October 2016. ʺMoscow and Ankara have signed intergovernmental agreement on the construction of Turkish Stream pipeline. The document has been signed by the Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation Alexander Novak and his Turkish colleague Berat Albayrak in the presence of two presidents, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan,ʺ Lenta.ru said, referencing to TASS.
What does this mean for Ukraine? Russia will give up on Ukraine as a transit country, when two lines of Turkish stream become operational. Nord and Turkish Streams will make the Ukrainian gas transportation system useless, because Northern and Southern Europe will receive Russian gas along the bottom of the Baltic and Black Seas, and not through the Ukrainian territory.
The Ukrainian gas transportation system is still functioning: gas flows to Europe via Ukraine. Frankly speaking, it is about to collapse, as the Ukrainian authority has never worried about their funds. There were a few registered accidents in the gas transportation system at the beginning of this year in Ukraine. Firstly, ‘the depressurization occurred in the underground section of the “Soyuz” main gas pipeline near the Gorodilovo village in the Transcarpathian region’. And then ‘another accident occured near the Romanovka village in the Lviv region, there was the depressurization of main gas pipeline with a diameter of 500 mm.’
What can you do with all that junk? It will be just cut for scrap, because, according to the Ukrainian gas transportation system, not a single cubic meter of Russian gas will flow through it. Even if the political situation in Ukraine changes and Ukrainian patriots will come to power instead of Ukrainian neo-Nazis and oligarchic clans, even if relations with the Russian Federation are established, nothing will change for Ukrainian gas transportation system. Why do you need to invest money in the modernization of the GTS, if Nord Stream already functions and Turkish Stream will be launched in the foreseeable future? And the time of Ukraine’s monopoly as a transit country has fallen into oblivion.
However, it still threatens and encourages EU countries to cut off their noses to spire their faces. The Chairman of the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee Anna Hopko has come forward with an initiative to adopt a parliamentary resolution that calls EU countries “to halve gas imports from Russia and to suspend the construction of Nord stream — 2”. It can be assumed that the deputy seriously exaggerates the importance of Ukraine in the eyes of Europe. And if it is true, things do not look good for Ukraine then.
By the way, the EU responded to Ukraine. The European Commission has approved Gazprom to use up to 90% capacity of OPAL pipeline (it was 50% before) in Germany. ʺIt was a shock for us,ʺ the Chairman of NJSC “Naftogaz of Ukraine” Andrey Kobolev said. According to him, Ukraine’s transit revenues will be reduced by $395-425 million.
I will allow myself to advise Ukrainian pseudo-rulers to keep locked up and to prevent any idiotic initiative of such “deputies” as Hopko and others of that ilk. If you was told once “make yourself at home, but do not forget you are a guest”, it does not mean that you can change rules for the sake of your own interests and to the detriment of needs of others. I hope it is clear that calls to reduce gas imports are perceived by the West as a threat, because if the EU refuses from this resolution, Europeans risk losing gas supplies due to ‘spontaneous and accidental’ actions such as undermining of power lines that lead to the Crimea.
The access to the Europe’s energy security will give current Ukrainian rulers nothing. It is ridiculous to enter the international arena with such tactic. Reasonable politicians of the West and East will just ignore any initiatives that increase the political weight of Ukraine, but that affect others. And if there is a need, they can discourage from doing that.
Elena Melnick, the DPR People’s Council deputy