News

EU Demands Russia Turn Gas Back On

European Union officials are calling Russia's cut off of natural gas to eight countries unacceptable. Russia turned off gas deliveries to Ukraine on January 1 because of a price dispute. It has since sharply cut the flow of gas through pipelines across Ukraine into Europe, accusing Kyiv of stealing gas.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin authorized gas cut-backs to Ukraine late Monday.

"Okay, I agree. Start reductions today," he said. 

He gave the go-ahead based on a recommendation made toward the end of a nationally televised meeting with Alexei Miller, the chairman of Russia's Gazprom state energy monopoly. 

Before dawn the Bulgarian Economy and Energy Ministry reported gas deliveries to that country, as well as transit to Turkey, Greece and Macedonia had been halted.  The ministry scheduled an emergency meeting to discuss the situation in Bulgaria.

The Czech Republic is reporting deliveries are off by 75 percent and Austria's are down by 90.

The European Union is calling for immediate resumption of gas deliveries and negotiations to settle the Russia-Ukraine dispute.

During his talk with Gazprom chief Miller, Mr. Putin expressed an interest in reliable delivery of gas to all customers, including Georgia, and instructed Miller to inform the European Union about Russian efforts to resolve the dispute with Ukraine.

Russia plans to withhold the amount of gas it alleges Ukraine has stolen, more than 65 million cubic meters, and to continue doing so as long as siphoning continues.  Ukraine is reporting the flow of gas from Russia has been sharply reduced. 

The spokesman for Ukraine's Naftohas gas company, Valentyn Zemliansky, told VOA the company is concerned about Ukraine's image, which he says is being tarnished by false reports in the Russian media.  He also denies Ukraine is stealing gas, saying his country has been forced to pump more gas to Europe than it is receiving from Russia.

Zemliansky says Ukraine has transported more than 82 million cubic meters, which means the country is using its own gas reserves to meet the technical demands of transporting Russian gas.

Russian officials say they will increase deliveries to Europe via alternate pipelines through Belarus.  But that route does not have the capacity of the Ukrainian pipeline system, which has transported 80 percent of Russia's supplies to Western Europe. 

Miller and Zemliansky say neither Russian nor Ukrainian consumers have been affected by the gas dispute, because Russia has unlimited supplies and Ukraine has adequate reserves.  Ukrainian officials say those reserves should last at least through April. 

Ukraine and Russia do not have a gas supply contract for 2009, and Kyiv disputes a Russian claim that they have a valid gas transport agreement for this year.  Ukraine is also disputing a $615-million penalty Moscow says is for late payment on November and December gas deliveries.

Russia is demanding Ukraine pay $450 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas in 2009.  This is nearly twice the amount of $250 Moscow offered on December 31, when both sides broke off contract talks.  The chairman of Ukraine's gas company will fly to Moscow on Thursday to resume negotiations.

 

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs