Germany said Wednesday it could help broker talks between Moscow and Kiev to ensure that Ukraine keeps receiving fees from the transit of Russian gas -- something that the controversial pipeline Nord Stream 2 could threaten.
The 10 billion-euro ($12-billion) pipeline beneath the Baltic Sea is set to double Russian natural gas shipments to Germany, Europe's largest economy.Russian neighbours Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic states have fiercely opposed the pipeline, fearing it will increase Moscow's political leverage in regional politics.
Kiev also fears that it would be deprived of around a billion annually in gas transit fees because the pipeline bypasses Ukraine.
But German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas voiced readiness to play middleman to ensure Kiev keeps receiving the fees.
"We can imagine taking on discussions to ensure that the transit contract beyond the current term, because we want gas to keep transiting through Ukraine in the long-term," said Maas.
A gas transit contract concluded in December 2019 for Gazprom to commit to paying gas transit fees to Ukraine runs out end-2024.
Maas said he hoped the contract could be turned from a time-limited one into an "open-ended one to give Ukraine more planning security."