Putin orders Gazprom to reopen Ukraine gas transit talks

Ukraine gas transit: Gazprom’s chief Alexei Miller has been instructed  by President Putin to reopen talks with Ukraine about the possibility of extending the transit of Russian gas through Ukraine beyond the current 2019 cut-off date.
The order appears to signal a softening of Russia’s stance after repeated statements that it was not going to renew its agreement with Ukraine after the country’s state-run Naftogaz indicated that it wanted to raise transit rates from $2.7 to $5 per m³ per 100 km. 
Despite reopening talks, however, Miller struck an intransigent note at a press conference last week. “We will never sign a contract with unfavourable or unfair conditions,” he said.
He has previously  described the Ukrainian gas transportation system as the “weakest link” in the gas supply chain between Russia and Europe. with an “extremely high potential for confrontation.”
Once the current transit contract with Ukraine runs out in four years’ time, Russia has planned to switch its supply routes to the Nord Stream and Turkish Stream routes, thereby bypassing Ukraine altogether.

Source: Interfax