As war continues to rage in the Ukraine, Naftogaz, the state energy company responsible for operating the country's network of 38,550-km of gas pipelines, works around the clock to service 12 million households in the Ukraine as well as myriad customers in the European Union.
This is remarkable: Even as Russia rains missiles onto Ukraine, it is still sending approximately 30 percent of the gas it sells in Europe through the country it has invaded.
Naftogaz and the Ukrainian political elite justify the ongoing transmission of Russian gas by the extra security afforded to the country. In other words, Naftogaz contends that Russia will not bomb infrastructure that benefits the Kremlin. According to Naftogaz, Russia earns one-half to one billion dollars a day through its gas exports. "If Russia reduces its exports, “they wouldn’t be able to finance the current war, pay salaries to its soldiers and all the crowds currently supporting Putin. It will immediately impact the regime’s support, which is why they don’t want to disrupt this revenue stream,” says Yuriy Vitrenko, Naftogaz's CEO.
Anders Aslund, a senior fellow at the Stockholm Free World Forum and a longtime expert on Russian affairs, said both countries profit by keeping the gas flowing — Russia by selling the gas at high prices and Ukraine by collecting transit fees.
For Vitrenko, there is also a humanitarian impulse in keeping the gas flowing: tens of millions of Ukrainians still reside in the country have yet to flee, and they need heating, water, electricity, some critical utilities.”