Kiev has said that it has no intention of prolonging the current agreement with Gazprom, which expires at the end of this year Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denis Shmigal © Omer Messinger/Getty Images

Ukraine may continue the transit of natural gas from Russia through its territory after 2024 if EU countries request it, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmigal has announced.

Ukraine’s vast gas pipeline network has been used by Russia for years to transport its natural gas to the EU. However, the current agreement between Ukraine and Russian energy giant Gazprom expires at the end of this year, and Kiev has previously said that it would not extend the deal.

Speaking at a news conference on Monday, Shmigal reiterated that Ukraine has no intention of engaging in negotiations with Russia or signing an agreement with Gazprom.

“If European countries act either as a consortium or if any of our European partners wishes to transit their gas, we are ready to provide such a service. The ball is in the court of the EU and our European partners,” Shmigal said, as quoted by the news agency Interfax Ukraine. “It could be a group of European countries that are interested in maintaining the transit of gas,” he added.

Ukraine is still a key route for Russian gas to reach countries such as Austria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, even though the flows on the transit pipelines have been less than 40% of the contracted volume since 2022 when the EU unleashed a sanctions campaign against Moscow over its military operation in Ukraine. Another buyer of Russian gas, Hungary, said last week that transit via Ukraine was obsolete because Türkiye had provided an alternative.

According to Bloomberg, even without a new deal, Gazprom may maintain supply to willing EU buyers by booking short-term capacity in Ukraine via capacity auctions.

EU working to completely stop Russian gas transit via Ukraine – official EU working to completely stop Russian gas transit via Ukraine – official

Also on Monday, the European Commission said it did not intend to engage with Moscow concerning the transit of Russian gas to EU countries through Ukraine, the news agency Ukrinform has reported, citing European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson.

Instead, the EU plans to “get rid” of Russian gas by 2027 at the latest and is working to find alternative supply routes and alternative suppliers, Simson said.

The head of Russia’s Energy Ministry Nikolay Shulginov said in January that if Russia’s customers in the EU are interested in continuing gas transits, a solution may be found.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section