‘Russia not obliged to finance Ukraine-EU integration’
Since the moment Ukraine chose to become an independent state, it has had to accept that it can’t develop as a country at the cost of Russian taxpayers, Anna Van Densky, political commentator from the EU Reporter Magazine, told RT.
Speaking about Russian gas, Van Densky said that Europe needs it badly for its development, while this commodity is taken hostage because of the political contradictions and ambitions over Ukrainian crisis.
RT: Has the gas supply to Europe ever been as threatened as it is now?
Anna Van Densky: It has always been a problem like that because after the collapse of the Soviet Union it was very difficult for the Ukrainian leadership to come to the terms that independence has its own price and if Ukraine is an independent state. They have to pay for gas as for any other commodity. Now of course it’s not the first so-called gas war because, unfortunately, gas transit was used on many occasions as an instrument of political pressure.
That what we see now, because now the supplies to Europe are also threatened, that’s why the South Stream corridor is so crucial to stabilize gas supplies to Europeans, because we had the situation with crisis in 2006, 2009. It’s a system that should be really reconstructed, rebuilt in another way, and that’s why it’s ideal for Ukrainians themselves also to have different view on the energy so that they could also open a broad gate to green energy, for example, alternative energy, wind energy, etc. So this dependency on transit of Russian gas is also unhealthy for the Ukrainian state, for Ukrainians, because unfortunately there were many parasites around this easy money.
RT: Is South Stream pipeline really necessary? Surely it would be cheaper to work out a proper, long term deal with Ukraine? What do you think?
AD: There are a lot of details that are very ambivalent. First of all, in any supplies it’s much better to have multiple ways than one way, so it’s not only for political reasons. There can be other reasons like a catastrophe. The problem of supply isn’t dependent on Ukrainians as such. [The] more routes, [the] more secure it is. That’s why you talk all the time about diversifying the ways of gas. South Stream is an ideal way because it goes from Russia through Black Sea and it comes to Bulgaria, it comes directly to the EU. So it’s one of the ways, it’s not about cutting gas, Russian gas, from [going] through Ukraine, it’s just diminishing this route and giving other alternative routes and opportunity. It’s also very fashionable because it will open real opportunities for the other alternative to Ukrainians, like green energy, for example.
RT: Ukraine still wants heavily discounted gas prices. Is that a fair request?
AD: It’s not a fair request, no. It comes from the Soviet era, because once upon a time Soviet Union was basically one state. Asking for this price is absolutely ridiculous in the situation of being an independent state and buying a commodity. It’s a confusion and this confusion caused a lot of political problems afterwards as well, because the moment Ukraine or Ukrainian people chose to become an independent state, they had to accept that they can’t develop their country on cost of Russian taxpayers, because they are the citizens of other countries. That’s the way it goes.
So it’s a lot of political confusion now as well, because if Europeans would like to help Ukrainians they have to sit together with Russians at the negotiation table and find out the way to help them to pay their bills, because it would be very naïve to expect that Russian taxpayers are obliged to finance Ukrainian integration into the EU.
So it’s not the way the things work. Unfortunately, all the revolutions are very anti-democratic because now the decisions are in the hands of a very small group of people, they were not elected democratically. I personally hope that after the real democratic elections there will be new leaders who will accept a fair and modern-style relationship with Russia.
RT: Isn't Russia's reputation as a reliable energy supplier is now a hostage to Kiev's political whims? Is there any solution?
AD: The South Stream is an ideal solution basically because it goes from Russia through the Black Sea and to Europe. It will help Europe because European needs gas badly, for example, Italy wants to develop southern Italy, and it would be a great opportunity for the economies of the south to get Russian gas. Let’s not forget that gas remains the most ecological among all types of energy. So it’s good for Europe, it’s good for [the] economy and it’s very sad that such a commodity is taken hostage because of these political contradictions and ambitions.
It’s especially important to have South Stream corridor as a solution to diversify the ways of gas to Europe. The latest Ukrainian Maidan revolution is not the first one, there was also the Orange Revolution and the hope was flying high, but it didn’t deliver it and it ended in a second revolution, Maidan. When the situation will be stabilizing in Ukraine nobody really knows. We hope it will be stabilized soon. Anyway, I think that European and Russians, the taxpayers from both sides can’t be taken hostage of this political instability in Ukraine, so the South Stream and Nord Stream, maybe other pipeline like Yamal, will help to create real strategic partnership and well-being of the people.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.