Ukraine will continue to transit Russian natural gas as long as it is technically possible, but proposes to freeze funds from its sale in escrow accounts until Russian troops withdraw from Ukraine, the head of the board of Naftogaz of Ukraine said on Bloomberg.
"At the moment, it has been decided that as long as it is technically possible, we will continue to transit Russian gas," he said.
Vitrenko said he could not disclose details of political discussions with the president, with Russia, with the European Union, but as the company's CEO, he must ensure uninterrupted transit as long as it is technically possible.
He pointed out that Russian forces in Ukraine are very careful about the gas transit infrastructure, although they are not sparing the distribution infrastructure. "Therefore, it is obvious to us that they do not want to damage their own commercial interests and their commercial relations...," Vitrenko stated.
According to him, there were attempts by Russia to interfere in the operation of three compressor stations in eastern Ukraine, but after a warning about the risks of such actions for transit, "Russian troops began to behave differently." "But they are still around, so the situation is far from normal," the head of Naftogaz stressed.
He confirmed that the Ukrainian side is now in full control of gas transit, while Gazprom is using contracted capacity.
Vitrenko specified that the payment for transit is made in hard currency - euros and dollars. "Unfortunately, the financial sanctions against Russia contain a number of very important exemptions for banks such as Gazprombank and Sberbank. This is why large Russian companies can still use their accounts in the West to receive money for oil and gas exports. And, by the way, that's why we say this has to change," said the head of Naftogaz.
He stressed that even if Europe cannot get rid of dependence on Russian hydrocarbons overnight, the Putin regime should not be allowed to receive money for them, but should accumulate them in escrow accounts, access to which will be open only after the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine.
Vitrenko also said that Europe should not be afraid of some increase in the price of hydrocarbons due to the refusal to supply them from Russia, because this price will still be lower than the price that Ukraine and humanity are paying for Russia's barbaric invasion.
"This is why we say that Europe must end its dependence on Russian gas and oil as soon as possible. And this is possible even in the short term," stressed the head of the board of Naftogaz of Ukraine.