(Bloomberg) -- German economy minister Robert Habeck said Europe is engaged in “intense” work to keep gas flowing through a key Russia-Ukraine pipeline as it seeks a solution that doesn’t fill the Kremlin’s coffers.

The discussions aim “not to fill Putin’s war chest even more, and still to ensure a reliable energy supply for southeast Europe,” he said on the sidelines of a conference in Berlin Tuesday. 

Europe has tried to wean itself off Russian gas but several eastern states continue to receive it through a pipeline that crosses Ukraine. The agreement that covers this transit arrangement expires at the end of 2024, with officials discussing options to keep gas flowing, Bloomberg News reported.

“The Ukrainians don’t need these gas supplies,” Habeck said, “but not all European states have managed to become as independent from Russian gas as we are.”

Germany has fast-tracked several liquefied natural gas terminals to replace shipments from Russia’s Gazprom PJSC. However, the company still ships around 15 billion cubic meters of fuel to Europe a year via Ukraine, mainly to Slovakia and Austria. 

Habeck pointed out that there were “intense talks between the EU Commission and those countries,” adding that he personally is “very engaged in this.” Ukraine’s largest energy company — state-run Naftogaz — has ruled out any plan that involves working with Gazprom.

Bloomberg News reported earlier that one option being discussed involves European companies buying and injecting gas from Azerbaijan into Russian pipelines heading to Europe. Such an arrangement would allow the continent to avoid propping up Moscow’s revenues. 

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