News / Europe

EU Urges Russia, Ukraine to Settle Energy Dispute

EU Urges Russia, Ukraine to Settle Energy Dispute

x
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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid