Russian gas transit through Ukraine to the EU has soared by almost 20%, compared to the same time last year. That’s according to new data published by Ukraine’s state-owned UkrTransGaz.

News of the increased volume appears to run contrary to Kremlin threats in recent months to further reduce supplying European customers via Ukraine, eventually stopping all transit by 2019.

Several ambitious projects proposed by Moscow to build new pipelines have faced hurdles or have been culled altogether, leading to a loss of petrodollars for Gazprom – a vital source of revenue for the Russian authorities.

These included the South Stream Transport system, designed to bypass Ukraine under the Black Sea, then through Bulgaria, Serbia and onto western Europe. It was scrapped by Russian President Vladimir Putin under EU pressure last December. Recent Russian negotiations with Ankara to continue building a Turkish Stream system have also hit stumbling blocks as both sides struggling to compromise on a final gas price.

Moscow and Kyiv have been embroiled in several major disputes over pricing and debts since the signing of a supply agreement in 2009, intensified by Russia’s military actions in east Ukraine.

Source: Ukraine Today