MOSCOW/BRUSSELS, July 26 (Reuters) - Russia wants to strike a short-term deal with Kiev on gas transit to Europe when the current ten-year deal expires in order to buy time to complete pipelines that will bypass Ukraine, four sources familiar with Russian thinking said.
The current deal with Ukraine expires at the end of this year.
Moscow’s stance is far removed from what Kiev and its European allies want. They are seeking guarantees that Ukraine will continue to serve as a transit route for Russian gas to Europe, leaving little obvious room for a breakthrough.
“Ukraine is looking for a long-term, 10-year deal. It’s not beneficial for us, a one-year deal would be OK so that we would build up our strength and launch all those ‘streams’ (Nord Stream 2 and TurkStream),” one of the four sources said.
A European Union source and two other Russian sources familiar with Gazprom’s thinking confirmed Moscow’s stance. Gazprom and the Russian Energy Ministry declined to comment. (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin, Maria Grabar, Olesya Astakhova and Polina Ivanova in MOSCOW, Alissa de Carbonnel in BRUSSELS and Pavel Polityuk in KIEV Editing by Katya Golubkova/Andrew Osborn)