News / Europe

EU Urges Russia, Ukraine to Settle Energy Dispute

EU Urges Russia, Ukraine to Settle Energy Disputei
X
Zlatica Hoke
May 03, 2014 12:06 PM
Russia's confrontation with the West over the growing unrest in eastern Ukraine could lead to another energy crisis in the European countries that are dependent on Russian energy. Europe gets about one-third of its gas supplies from Russia, and about half of it is dispatched through Ukraine. Meanwhile, as Zlatica Hoke reports, the EU is mediating a deal between Russia and Ukraine that would secure a steady gas supply for next winter.
EU Urges Russia, Ukraine to Settle Energy Dispute
Zlatica Hoke
Russia's confrontation with the West over the growing unrest in eastern Ukraine could lead to another energy crisis in the European countries that are dependent on Russian energy.  Europe gets about one-third of its gas supplies from Russia, and about half of it is dispatched through Ukraine.  Europeans are increasingly looking into alternative sources of energy to reduce their reliance on Russia.  Meanwhile, the EU is mediating a deal between Russia and Ukraine that would secure a steady gas supply for next winter.

The Ukrainian military effort to regain cities under pro-Russian rebel control has not gone as well as the government in Kyiv expected.  Acting President Oleksander Turchynov said the military has had to act with restraint in order to spare civilians.

"I would like to underline that the operation did not progress as quickly as hoped for, and was complicated by the fact that terrorist bases are situated in heavily populated cities, and that they were hiding behind citizens, hiding behind hostages and firing from apartment blocks," he said.

Heavily armed rebels shot down military helicopters on Friday, killing two pilots. British Ambassador to the United Nations Mark Lyall Grant said it is clear that Russia is arming the insurgents.  

"Peaceful activists do not have the means or the capabilities to shoot down three Ukrainian military helicopters, reportedly using MANPADS  [man-portable air-defense systems]," he said. 

Western leaders and Russia are accusing each other of failing to take steps to de-escalate the political crisis in Ukraine, as they agreed last month in Geneva.  Mike Ingram, a London-based market strategist, says it was not a solid agreement in the first place.  

"Frankly, I was amazed that anyone thought anything of use whatsoever had been agreed at the Geneva conference just over a week ago. I think the longer-term situation in Ukraine is partition. I don't believe that Ukraine is governable in its current shape," he said.

Russia is poised to send its forces across the border in support of pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.  If the West retaliates with more economic sanctions, Russia may respond by withholding energy supplies. German trader Fidel Helmer says that would not be wise.

"This could certainly have very negative consequences for Russia because the Europeans and the Americans are already in the process of finding alternatives for gas deliveries. This would, of course, mean that Russia would export less gas and therefore make less money, something they desperately need," said Helmer.

Ukrainian, Russian and EU energy officials met Friday in Poland to discuss how to avoid an energy crisis.  Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak says his country may halt gas supplies to Ukraine for failing to pay its existing gas bills.

"The general debt for the supplied gas to Ukraine in accordance with the current contract is about 3.5 billion U.S. dollars. And this debt will increase in April by 1.3 billion dollars," he said.

Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuri Prodan blames the situation on Moscow.  He says Kyiv will seek justice.  

"If an agreement is not reached, we will meet [Russia's natural gas producer] Gazprom in a Stockholm court on May 28," he said. "According to our lawyers, Ukrainian debt to Gazprom may be changed during arbitration because of abusive acts by Gazprom in Ukraine's natural gas market."

Russia caused energy crises in Europe in 2006 and 2009 when it cut off supplies to Ukraine.  Representatives of all three are set to meet again later this month.

You May Like

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Russia’s Prosecutor General to Review Legality of Baltics Independence

Move, announced Tuesday, has alarmed Baltic States and strained even further their increasingly tense ties with Moscow More

US Urged to Keep Up Pressure on Cuba Rights

Communist government continues to hold dozens of political prisoners, tightly restricts freedom of expression, uses threats, intimidation to discourage critics, according to activist groups More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs