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.
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.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs