Putin says that shipments of Russian gas through Ukraine can continue

SOCHI, Russia – Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that the supply of gas to Europe through Ukraine could continue even after the launch of a new pipeline to Germany under the Baltic Sea.

The question of whether Ukraine will be frozen in future deliveries of gas from Russia is considered one of the main obstacles for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project across the Baltic Sea. Several European countries oppose the plan, including Ukraine, and the United States has warned that it could endanger Europe's energy security.

After speaking with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Russian city of Sochi, Putin said Russia has no intention of doing so. stop gas supplies to EU nations across the territory of Ukraine after the launch of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. He said that supplies through Ukraine, which depends heavily on transit rates for gas, will continue if they are economically convenient.

"We are willing to preserve that transit if it makes economic sense," he said. "It can be achieved in talks with the Ukrainian side, and we are ready for those talks."

Putin suggested that the US opposition to Nord Stream 2 is due to President Donald Trump's desire to encourage exports of liquefied natural gas from the United States. UU , which is supplied by ship and is considerably more expensive than Russian supplies.

Merkel also emphasized the need to provide Ukraine with guarantees that supplies through its territory will continue.

Germany wants Russian gas and has calculated that The new gas pipeline will provide a better value for money compared to other options, including US liquefied natural gas. UU

The meeting at the Sochi spa on the Black Sea is Merkel's first visit to Russia in a year and it takes place amid tense relations between Berlin and Moscow.

Germany has condemned Russia's annexation of the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine and its military support to the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad. But when her fourth term begins, Merkel is approaching Putin in an effort to make progress in these long-term crises.

The two leaders spoke before the journalists before a joint meal in which the question of moving forward stalled was expected that the peace process in Ukraine would be discussed in more depth.

Germany insists that a UN peacekeeping force should help facilitate next year's elections in Ukraine. Moscow, which supports the separatist rebellion in eastern Ukraine, has indicated it could accept its presence, but resisted Ukraine's demand to allow its deployment along the Russian-Ukrainian border.

On Syria, Putin said that European humanitarian aid to Syria and help rebuild the country after the devastating civil war is crucial to create the conditions for the return of refugees from Europe.

He said that providing aid to Syria must be "depoliticized", a statement that addresses Western reluctance to provide badistance to Syria The government of President Bashar Assad

"If Europe wants people to return to their homes, they need to help to Syria to rebuild its economy and provide humanitarian aid to Syria, "Putin said.

Merkel urged Putin to use his influence with Assad to make him reverse a law that would strip the Syrians of their badets if they do not immediately demand them.

"This is very bad news for all those who" I want to return to Syria someday, "he said.

Germany has welcomed more than 700,000 refugees from Syria, by far the highest number in Europe, which

Putin encouraged Assad, who visited Sochi on Thursday, to move towards a political agreement and the Syrian leader pledged to support the efforts to draft an anti-migrant sentiment. new constitution At the same time, Russia has dismissed the Western accusations of responsibility of the Syrian government for chemical attacks, considering them as provocations of the rebels.

Berlin and Moscow are currently on the same line when it comes to the nuclear agreement with Iran: unlike the United States, which withdrew from the agreement, both countries want to keep the agreement alive, arguing that it has helped to keep under control Any Iranian nuclear program.

"The Europeans are in contact with Iran to talk about the (fact that) Iran must remain in the agreement because this agreement provides security, monitoring and transparency," Merkel said.

He added that the international nuclear control agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency, believes that Tehran has acceded to the agreement.

"The IAEA has made it clear that it firmly believes that Iran is fulfilling its commitments," he said. "That's why we believe that this transparency is of great value."


Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed to this report.

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