‘We are ready’ Ukraine weakens Putin’s energy stranglehold as it breaks Russian shackles

Ukraine 'has basically won' against Russia says Suter

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky confirmed earlier this month that the process of connecting Ukraine to Europe’s energy grid has been completed. Ukraine’s electricity grid was previously hooked up to both the Belarussian and Russian networks. But now, this aspect of dependence on Russia has been slashed.

It comes after the country said that it would be ready to connect to Europe’s Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) in 2023.

Danil Bochkov, an expert from the Russian International Affairs Council, previously told Express.co.uk: “This initiative is aimed at redirecting Ukrainian electricity supplies from the former USSR grid which interconnects Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.

“So, it could contribute to more geopolitical freedom for Kyiv which would become less dependent on energy supplies from Russia.”

But that plan has already come into action.

Pavlo Kukhta, a Ukrainian energy advisor and former minister in Zelensky’s Government, told Express.co.uk: “Physically the European and Ukrainian grids have been connected.

“The technical stuff is ready which at this point is the most important because during the war it is physical stuff that matters.

“The regulatory rules are not yet fully ready but they are being quickly worked on. But it is not like we have a properly functioning market now, so they matter less because at this point it is an emergency.

“It is necessary to balance the system in Ukraine. It allows it to be done with the Europeans without having to depend on Russia…or having to cope ourselves by turning off or on some suppleirs or users.

“Now it is simply a matter of balancing with European which of course gives us more options in terms of policy.

“Putin had some leverage over Ukraine which he does not have anymore, this part of the market is now cleared from Russian influence. Physically we are more secure.”

Mr Bokchov argued that the move to join up with Europe won’t provide Ukraine with any extra electricity.

He told Express.co.uk: “It just means that Ukraine substitutes Russian electricity supplies with the EU ones getting the same amount of energy. So, the equation doesn’t change – only its parts are swapped.”

But with tension with Russia soaring over the chaos that Mr Putin has unleashed on Ukraine, Kyiv will likely feel much safer in the hands of European partners.

The chief executive of a Ukrainian energy giant told Reuters earlier this month that Ukraine could get as much as 15 percent of its power from the
EU if its generating capacity was hit by Russia’s invasion.

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But Russia’s energy empire is still in action.

A third of the EU’s gas still flows via Ukraine on its route to the bloc.

And with 40 percent of Europe’s gas coming from Russia, it still appears that Putin has the West in an energy stranglehold, although sanctions and new energy strategies are aiming to change this.

But for Ukraine, more than 60 percent of the gas it uses is produced domestically.

And now that it does not need Russia for electricity, it looks well on its way to energy independence.

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