May 7, 2014

The Russian Gas Scenario Has Slowed Down

Based on the results of the first trilateral meeting on gas (Ukraine — EU — Russia), held in Warsaw on May 2, 2014, almost for the first time Russia did not come out the winner.

One can't say that Ukraine has won this first round of negotiations (assuming that there will be two more meetings in May). But clearly our country has not lost, as it did before. And perhaps for the first time representatives of the official Kiev headed by Minister Yu. Prodan chose a clear, consistent and even aggressive policy, which against the background of strong arguments — reverse supplies and legal initiatives — at least puzzled the Russian Energy Minister, (a native of Donbas) A. Novak and made him «bleat» about some courts and alleged debts of Ukraine. At the same time, the Russian Minister could say about some 12 billion cubic meters of gas in storage facilities (it is not clear for whom this information was meant — for Ukraine or for the EU). Or, perhaps, the Russian Minister, in Kremlin's «diplomatic manner» tried to make it clear that the Russian side already agrees to the EU negotiating with Ukraine and paying us for the transit of Russian gas?

Not the losing position of the Ukrainian delegation was possible primarily because this time it did not separate gas from the general political context. Although not quite clearly. While the Russian Minister, as it is often practiced by the Russian Federation, tried to reduce everything to a commercial dispute. Although Russia does not make a secret out of the fact that it is using energy carriers, in particular gas, for political purposes. At this, according to «own sources» in Warsaw (where the meeting took place), the Russian tried to exclude from the negotiations the EU representative. Like, «we ourselves will sort this Ukraine out- they did sign a similar contract in the 2009th».

In case if the Ukrainian side sticks to this principled position at the next negotiations, and in the International Court, the Ukrainian state has a chance to win. At this, we should widen the theme of the debt in favor of Ukraine. In particular, it will be useful to remind about our overpayments for gas because the market price in 2009-2013 years was higher. And that Russia had taken a lot of gas from Ukraine before its own gas deposits were developed. Also, it won't be amiss to remind about the theft of more than 130 billion U.S. dollars through the Sberbank of USSR and to assess the contribution of Ukrainians into the formation and development of the Russian Army, Navy, nuclear technology, space and so on. We must speak openly about who and how blackmailed whom and who was «breaking out hands» to get the desired signature. And only then it will be clear who is who and who owes whom and how much.

Somehow, it seems that such approaches to assessments of Russian-Ukrainian relations would be not in favor of the current Russian Federation. But, to avoid subjectivity, it is necessary to keep count. Therefore — to apply all international mechanisms, including the arrest of property (aircrafts, ships, and so on) abroad. And for this purpose (and in order not to repeat the mistakes of 2009) it is necessary to have in the Ukrainian delegation Ukrainian diplomats very well familiar with the problems of the Russian Federation, in particular — with the gas ones.