Gas Transmission System Operator of Ukraine (GTSOU) will not reopen the Sokhranovka gas transit route from Russia to Europe until Kyiv obtains full control over its pipeline system, the head of GTSOU told Reuters on Thursday.
The company on Tuesday declared force majeure citing gas theft by Russia-backed separatists and halted flows via Sokhranovka, which account for almost a third of the gas Russia sends across Ukraine to Europe.
The Sokhranovka runs through Ukraine's Luhansk region, part of which has been under the control of Russia-backed separatists since 2014. Sergiy Makogon, GTSOU Managing Director, said Gazprom was likely unaware that Russian separatists were pilfering gas from the pipeline. Nonetheless, he believed that Gazprom could still deliver all its Europe-bound volumes by using the Sudzha transit route, passing through the northwest of Ukraine, which remains open.
Gazprom did not comment on the above, other to say it is not technologically possible to reroute all its supply via Sudzha, an assertion that Kyiv has questioned.