Ukrainian minister: Russia could halt gas transit but no sign of it doing so
KYIV, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Ukraine's energy minister said on Friday he believed Russia could halt the transit of natural gas through his country but that he had seen no formal indications that this would happen.
Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24 but is still pumping natural gas to Europe via its neighbour.
Asked about the possibility of Russia suspending gas transit via Ukraine, Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko told Reuters in an interview: "It could happen."
Asked whether he had seen signs of Russia halting had transit, he said: "Formally, no, but to give you an example, from November (2021) they started to decrease the volume in the Ukrainian pipe. The contractual volume is 109 (mcm per day), but they decreased it gradually to a minimum of something around 36 or 38 million (mcm) per day."
"It looks like one of the goals of this was to split the solidarity of the EU against Russia," he said. "It's a kind of pressure on European countries."
Halushchenko said Ukraine would need to import some gas imports over winter but gave no exact figure.
"We calculated the consumption and we see that we still need some amount of import(s), but during the winter. We need to import some volumes of gas to be in the pipe during winter, not to be in storage before," he said.
Asked how much, he said: "Let’s say it’s in BCM (billions of cubic meters)." (Reporting by Max Hunder, Editing by Timothy Heritage)