Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic that Russia was ready to consider using Ukraine as a gas transit route after 2020, the energy ministry said on Wednesday. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday that a gas pipeline planned to run from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea could not go ahead without clarity on Ukraine’s role as a transit route for gas, appearing to harden her stance on the scheme. The Russian energy ministry said in a statement that Novak and Sefcovic had spoken by telephone and discussed the delivery of Russian gas to European markets.