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

FIFA Indictments Put Gold Cup Tournament Under Cloud

Experts say US indictments could lead to charges of other world soccer officials, and lead to major shakeup in sport's governance More

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

At a recent even in Seoul, border communities promoted benefits of increased cooperation and North Korean defectors shared stories of life since the war More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows Fight to Death With IS

In wide-ranging interview, Fuad Masum describes new type of fight that will take time to win More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs