European Union leaders have promised Ukraine that they will work to secure its gas supply. Fearing a cold winter, against the backdrop of the energy crisis and criticism of Russia, denounced in several European capitals for having taken advantage of the situation to force the approval of the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which avoids Ukraine as transit country, the heads of the community institutions in Kiev made a commitment with the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, to increase gas deliveries from the EU. At a summit in the Ukrainian capital, community leaders also agreed to strengthen defense cooperation and are considering sending a military training mission to the eastern country, a strategic point for the EU and for NATO in their relations with Russia and embroiled in an eight-year war with pro-Russian separatists backed by the Kremlin.
As temperatures drop and energy prices soar, supply has become a key issue in recent weeks. Also the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which passes under the Baltic Sea and will carry Russian gas directly to Germany, and which Kiev opposes because it could lose more than 2 billion dollars (around 1,735 million euros) per years in transit costs and because he fears that this will also erode his international position.
This Tuesday, in Kiev, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, recalled the formulas on which the EU will work to “safeguard the energy security” of Ukraine. “This would include [la opción de] increase the gas supply capacity of EU Member States and also, if necessary, work on arrangements to establish an additional reverse flow from Slovakia, ”Von der Leyen said at a press conference with the President of the council. European Union, Charles Michel and President Zelenski. After the meeting, which was also attended by the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Policy Josep Borrell, the Ukrainian leader again expressed his disagreement with Nord Stream 2, which is still awaiting final approval to start pumping.
Ukraine was one of Russia’s biggest consumers of natural gas until in 2014, Moscow annexed the Crimean Peninsula with a referendum deemed illegal by the international community. In November 2015, Kiev stopped buying gas from Russia and increased its purchases from Europe, although the majority of this product is in fact resold Russian gas.
After a spring alert from the EU and NATO for the deployment of tens of thousands of Russian troops along the borders with Ukraine and for the escalation of the Donbass conflict with the separatists supported militarily and politically by the Kremlin , Brussels is considering sending a military training mission to Kiev. A group of European experts is already in Ukraine, explained Charles Michel, and they are meeting Ukrainian representatives to discuss concrete projects.
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The heads of community institutions spoke of economic and trade relations. Also reforms of justice and the fight against corruption on which Ukraine must move forward to stay on the path of cooperation with the EU. However, to Kiev’s frustration, they made it visible that the eastern country’s eventual membership in the community club is not even an issue on the table. “We are a European family and we work together,” Von der Leyen insisted at the press conference. To which Zelenski regretted the refusal of the EU to discuss a timetable for his application for membership. “We are walking on a path, but where is the finish line? Zelenski stressed. ” Exist ? Ukrainians want to hear this signal. “
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