News

    Russia-Ukraine Gas Dispute Continues

    Multimedia

    Anya Ardayeva

    The dispute between Russia and Ukraine over natural gas shipments and prices is moving into its second week, and has left large swaths of Europe without adequate heat this winter.

    The European Commission has warned Russian and Ukrainian gas companies it will take legal action if agreements brokered by the EU are not observed.

    Meanwhile, some analysts in Moscow say the feud has already damaged relations between Russia and the European Union.

    As Russia and Ukraine continue arguing over gas shipments, European countries are calling for the gas flow to be restored after enduring a week of freezing weather without Russian gas.  

    In a meeting with his Bulgarian and Slovakian counterparts, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Russia is doing its best to resume the gas supplies to Europe that flow through Ukraine's pipelines.

    Putin blamed Ukraine for stopping the transit. "What matters is that we opened the tap, and are ready to supply gas, but on the Ukrainian side, the tap is closed and no gas is being transported," he said. "No transit country has the right to abuse its transit situation and speculate on it and to take European customers hostage."

    For its part, Kyiv is blaming Moscow, saying Russia has provided so little gas, there is not enough pressure in the pipelines to pump it.

    "Ukraine did not halt Russian gas transit to Europe," said Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko. "This was done unilaterally by the Russian Federation and as soon as Russia resumes gas supplies for the European Union, Ukraine, without a doubt, will fulfill transit."

    Russia has insisted its dispute with Ukraine is nothing more than about prices. It wants Ukraine to pay $450 for 1,000 cubic meters of gas this year, more than double the price than last year.

    Ukraine, which is struggling through an economic crisis, says it cannot afford that. Similar supply interruptions of gas first occurred in January 2006, when price disagreements were not settled on time.

    Some analysts in Moscow say the conflict is not just about money. Evgeni Volk heads the Moscow office of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank based in Washington. 

    "I believe that the gas conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which received strong international repercussion, is not an economic or financial crisis," Volk said. "It's a deep political crisis which reflects the difference of interests between Russia and Ukraine and in a larger context between Russia and Europe in general."

    Russia shut off Ukraine's domestic supply on January 1 and then gas supplies to Europe a week later.  It did so after accusing Kiev of stealing gas meant for other European customers -  a claim Ukraine denied.

    Eighteen countries across Europe have been hit by the shutdown of Russian gas. And with hundreds of thousands of people left without heat in the middle of the winter, the Russia- EU relationship is undergoing a chill as well.

    "It certainly provoked damage to negotiations between Russia and the EU on the so-called strategic partnership," Volk added. "You know last year after the Georgia crisis these negotiations were suspended, they were resumed after almost half a year with great difficulty, and now I believe once again these negotiations are jeopardized by Russia's position in this conflict with Ukraine."

    And with Moscow insisting that gas is flowing from Russia to Ukraine for export, and Kyiv  saying it is technically unable to pass it on to its neighbors, negotiations between the two former Soviet allies may have reached a dead-end.

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.