The fate of energy security in Ukraine and the region is likely to be decided in Berlin and Brussels. Aligning itself with European partners would give Ukraine more leverage in negotiations according to Zachmann, suggesting Ukraine define a joint Ukraine-EU proposal on a gas transit contract so it would be much more difficult to undermine it by Moscow.
At the beginning of May, Naftogaz filed a complaint to the European Commission against Gazprom for abuses of dominance in European gas markets. According to Vitrenko, they focused among others on construction of Nord Stream 2, providing evidence that the pipeline project is based on anticompetitive rather than economic motifs.
Yet some experts argue the Naftogaz position is too focused on procedure, and not enough on searching for compromise.
"Ukraine is having a very legalistic approach on the issue," said Eyl-Mazzega. He argued the Ukrainian position is based on referring to European law and arbitration, while Germany and Russia are currently successfully implementing a compromise based approach.
Instead, Eyl-Mazzega suggested, Ukraine should focus on guaranteeing some minimal transit under a new deal but accept a significant transfer of transit to Nord Stream 2, and perhaps later TurkStream.
"Ukraine has to align itself with the Brussels position, which means it has to swallow some pills," added Zachmann.
Others see this as too big a risk. A European Parliament analysis sees Nord Stream 2 and a compromise with Russia is a "direct challenge to Europe's foreign policy towards Ukraine."
According to Stephen Blank, an associate at the American Foreign Policy Council, a compromise would be a "deal with the devil." In an Atlantic Council op-ed he argued Russia's energy revenues go to subvert European institutions and a strong European Commission position would underscore the need for transparent and fair energy policy practices.
"Those decisions certainly merit support by EU members in order to maximize opportunities for energy security and promote the rule of law and transparency in the energy business," Blank wrote.
Read more in Why We are Writing About Naftogaz