Vitrenko rejected the promise by Angela Merkel, Germany’s outgoing chancellor, to guarantee continued gas transit after 2024.

“I cannot understand how Germany can guarantee transit of gas via the territory of Ukraine, if neither of those countries is in charge of producing and transporting the gas,” he told VOA. “Theoretically, such guarantees could come only from Russia.” Without Russian gas in the Ukrainian pipeline, he said: “The risk of full-scale military aggression by Russia would go up substantially.”