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.
Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigationsi
Katherine Gypson
December 01, 2015 10:06 PM
In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigations

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Russia Marks World AIDS Day With Grim News

While HIV infection rates have steadied or even declined in many European countries, the caseload has grown rapidly in Russia, as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow. Over half of the new infections were transmitted through injection drug use.

Video Pakistan Hit Hard by Global Warming

As world leaders meet in Paris to craft a new global agreement aimed at cutting climate-changing greenhouse-gas emissions, many developing countries are watching closely for the final results. While most developing nations contribute much less to global warming than developed countries, they often feel the effects to a disproportionate degree. As Saud Zafar reports from Karachi, one such nation is Pakistan. Aisha Khalid narrates his report.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

VOA Blogs