Ukraine set for 'freedom from Russia' as it 'redirects' supplies from USSR grid

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Ukraine set for 'freedom from Russia' as it 'redirects' supplies from USSR grid

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Ukraine is set to join Europe’s Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) in 2023. The move would see Ukraine’s current electricity transmission system decoupled from Russia and Belarus. It announced that between February 24 to 26, Ukraine would disconnect from the system connecting to both these countries to test a new isolated system before joining up with Europe’s network.

It comes as Russia’s “full-scale invasion” of Ukraine has sparked fears that the Kremlin could slash Ukraine’s gas supplies which travel through its network of pipelines.

Danil Bochkov, an expert from the Russian International Affairs Council, 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 in fact 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, it may be likely that Kyiv will feel much safer in the hands of European partners.

Zelenskyy and Putin

Ukraine could slash dependency on Russia (Image: Getty )

Disputed territories in Ukraine

Russia is unleashing hell on Ukraine (Image: Express)

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denis Shmygal said: “Technically, we are almost 100 percent ready for Ukraine to join the European energy network in 2023.

“World Bank experts have estimated the benefits of synchronisation with ENTSO-E at $1.5billion (£1.1billion) annually for our country.”

But as the Ukrainian system becomes isolated during the compulsory tests ahead of joining up with Europe, fears have soared that it could result in blackouts.

No imports are permitted while the Ukrainian system is decoupled from Russia and Belarus during the test.

And there are some concerns that the system is vulnerable to a cyber attack.

READ MORE: Pakistan hammers nail into West’s Russia response with new gas deal

Russia's share of gas in EU

Russia supplies the EU with 40% of its gas (Image: Express)

Cyber security expert Dan O’Dowd warned: “One of the greatest changes in the last decade is the emergence of a fanatic pursuit of connecting everything to the Internet.

“This certainly has benefits, but it also has downsides, like the possibility of everything getting hacked. When we connect the safety critical things that our lives depend on to the

Internet, such as the power grid, cars, and hospitals, these things become hackable, too.

“This could have catastrophic consequences following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

And Ukraine may not be able to slash ties with Russia completely, despite the plan to slash its electricity ties.

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Russia's network of gas pipelines

A third of Europe’s gas which comes from Russia passes through Ukraine (Image: Express )

That is because it is still largely dependent on its neighbour for gas supplies, as is most of the rest of Europe.

In fact, Russia supplies 40 percent of the EU’s gas, a third of which flows through Ukraine on its way to the bloc.

Moscow has been accused of deliberately withholding gas from Europe, sending prices skyrocketing to record highs across the continent.

In fact, Kremlin-controlled gas giant Gazprom has been diverting gas flow through the Yamal-Europe pipeline in reverse and away from the West since December.

This saw December prices surge to new records that surpassed even the record-breaking costs seen in October amid the crippling energy crisis.

There were fears that Mr Putin’s grip on the European energy market could grow even tighter if Nord Stream 2 came into operation.

NS2

Critics of NS2 said it would have boosted Ukraine’s dependency on Russia (Image: Getty )

But German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he would not certify the pipeline after Mr Putin sent troops into two parts of Ukraine he declared independent.

Nord Stream 2 would have sent Russian gas to Germany, bypassing Ukraine and Poland on its route.
Critics said the system would have seen Ukraine’s dependency on Russia soar further.

With the conflict in Ukraine escalating after tanks rolled into the capital, it seems now might be the right time to slash any remaining ties with Russia.

Ukrenergo, the company operating the transmission lines set to isolate from Russia and Belarus, has claimed that the system is fully prepared.

The company’s CEO, Volodymyr Kudrytskyi, claims Ukraine has more than 700,000 tons of coal at the ready.

And is expected to boost up this amount to 1.2 million tons by the end of February or early March.

Mr Kudrytskyi argues that this will do enough to allow thermal power plants to operate at capacity while the system is isolated from Russia.



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