The “reverse-flow” of natural gas to Ukraine is one way in which the European Union has helped Ukraine stay afloat during its open military conflict with Russian-backed separatists.
During her visit to Budapest on Monday German Chancellor Angela Merkel praised Hungary’s for its “continued gas shipments to Ukraine.”
However, according to a piece published by Hungarian website Cink.hu shortly after Monday’s joint press conference between Merkel and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s shipment of natural gas to Ukraine decreased to a trickle on Sunday.
After suspending the reverse-flow of gas to Ukraine last year, Hungary proceeded to provide a stable flow of 3 million cubic meters per day. According to Cink.hu, this dropped to 5,000 cubic meters the day before Merkel’s arrival in Hungary.
Cink.hu cites a “secret source” according to which, while true that Hungary is technically engaging in reverse-flow to Ukraine, the amount of gas now flowing through to Ukraine is not at all substantial. “Someone close to the government with good insight into the matter” allegedly told Laszlo Szily that the gas Hungary ships to Ukraine comes from other countries because by law Hungary is not allowed to ship natural gas to Ukraine if the gas itself arrived in Hungary from Ukraine.
Today a representative of FGSZ Zrt., the Hungarian company that operates the pipeline, informed Cink.hu that the reason for the sudden decrease in gas shipments to Ukraine is that Ukraine simply didn’t order more gas. The spokesperson also said Ukraine will receive more gas if it orders more.
Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto told state-run media this morning Hungary has shipped 2.5-3 million cubic meters of gas to Ukraine in recent days. He said the shipments to Ukraine always depend on whether the Ukrainian buyers are actually buying gas. The question of who is actually providing Ukraine with the most competitive price for gas is something that doesn’t depend on Hungary, Szijjarto said. Furthermore, Ukraine did not buy gas from Hungary but rather from the West, which was then shipped through Hungary.
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