The EU says that it sees no need to extend Russia’s five-year contract to supply gas to Europe via Ukraine, which is due to expire at the end of 2024.

Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson said that alternative supplies have now been sourced by countries that were once served by the gas transit route, including Austria, Italy and Slovakia.

“We have no interest to prolong the trilateral gas transit agreement with Russia, which will expire by the end of this year. Based on our preliminary analytics, there are alternative solutions to supply these countries who still receive some gas through the Ukrainian route,” Simson said at an EU Parliament committee meeting.

Europe has sought to abandon Russian gas since the latter invaded Ukraine in 2022, with the aim of curtailing wartime revenues for the Kremlin.

Brussels published a report last October that suggested EU imports of Russian gas had fallen to 40–45 billion cubic metres (bcm) in 2023, compared with 155bcm in 2021.

Analysts told Reuters that the end of the Ukraine transit deal could cause a slight rise in European gas prices but will not compromise overall energy security.

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Europe has increased its imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to replace Russian gas, with 46% coming from the US in 2023, according to data from Eurostat. This, along with a drop in industrial activity, has helped reduce EU demand for Russian gas. Norway is now Europe’s top provider of natural gas.

Under the five-year pipeline transit agreement between Moscow and Kyiv, due to expire soon, Russia exports gas to Europe via Ukraine and pays Ukraine for the use of its pipeline network.

Ukraine has said it will not enter talks with Russia on extending the deal, but Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said last month that Russia will find alternative routes to transit Russian gas to Europe.