News / Europe

US Criticizes Russia's Gas Price Hike for Ukraine

FILE - A natural gas concentration point is seen near Opishnya, some 280 km of Ukraine's capital, Kyiv.
FILE - A natural gas concentration point is seen near Opishnya, some 280 km of Ukraine's capital, Kyiv.
VOA News
The White House objected to Russia's increase in natural gas prices for Ukraine on Thursday and said markets should determine prices.

White House Spokesman Jay Carney spoke after Russian natural gas producer Gazprom announced it would virtually double the gas price for Ukraine to $485 per 1,000 cubic meters this month, which Ukraine said was politically motivated.

“That kind of action taken coercively against Ukraine is something we oppose,” Carney told reporters.

“We believe that markets should determine energy prices.”
 
The price hike amounts to an 80 percent increase, piling more pressure on Ukraine's economy, already on the brink of bankruptcy.
 
Moscow has frequently used energy as a political weapon in dealing with its neighbors, and European customers are concerned Russia might again cut off deliveries in the worst East-West stand-off since the Cold War over Crimea.

President Obama on Thursday signed into law a sanctions bill against Russian and Ukrainian officials tied to Russia's actions in Ukraine. The measure also includes $1 billion in loan guarantees for Ukraine and increases funding for international broadcasting to the region.

Ukraine inquiry

Ukraine's new government has alleged that the February killing of protesters in Kyiv took place under the orders of ousted president Viktor Yanukovych. It has also pointed to Russian involvement in the bloodshed.

A preliminary report presented Thursday by Ukraine's top security and justice officials also accuses the Yanukovych regime, which enjoyed backing from Moscow, of having used a network of hired killers, kidnappers and gangs of thugs to terrorize and undermine the opposition during anti-government protests in Ukraine that began in November of last year.
Ukraine's Interior Minister Arsen Avakov presents documents of the investigation as acting Attorney General Oleh Makhnitsky and Chief of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) Valentyn Nalyvaichenko (L-R) listen in Kyiv, April 3, 2014.Ukraine's Interior Minister Arsen Avakov presents documents of the investigation as acting Attorney General Oleh Makhnitsky and Chief of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) Valentyn Nalyvaichenko (L-R) listen in Kyiv, April 3, 2014.
x
Ukraine's Interior Minister Arsen Avakov presents documents of the investigation as acting Attorney General Oleh Makhnitsky and Chief of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) Valentyn Nalyvaichenko (L-R) listen in Kyiv, April 3, 2014.
Ukraine's Interior Minister Arsen Avakov presents documents of the investigation as acting Attorney General Oleh Makhnitsky and Chief of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) Valentyn Nalyvaichenko (L-R) listen in Kyiv, April 3, 2014.


On Thursday, acting Interior Minister Arsen Avakov linked special police from its Ministry of Internal Affairs, acting under orders of Mr. Yanukovych, to the killing of at least 17 protesters.  He said 12 "Berkut" police have been identified and that authorities have begun arresting them.

For his part, Ukraine's security service chief ((Valentyn Nalyvaychenko)) said evidence shows Russian agents were involved in "the planning and implementation" of the deadly February 18-20 police operations.

More than 100 protesters died as a result of what authorities at the time called an "anti-terrorist operation," many at the hands of government snipers, the report alleges.

During the height of the unrest members of Russia's FSB security force had been seen at Ukraine's security service's headquarters, and a Russian plane had flown large amounts of explosives and weapons into Ukraine, one of the officials, Ukraine's new security chief Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, said.

The FSB has reportedly denied involvement, but hints of Moscow's hand in the bloodshed could further strain ties with Russia, Ukraine's former Soviet overlord, which annexed Ukraine's Crimea region after Yanukovych's removal from power in what has escalated into the worst East-West standoff since the Cold War.

Yanukovych, who fled Ukraine for Russia in late February, has denied personal responsibility for the bloodshed.

Russian troops

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says troops near the Ukrainian border will return to their permanent bases as soon as they finish military exercises.

Russia has massed troops on its border with Ukraine following Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, triggering fears of an incursion.

 
FILE - Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei LavrovFILE - Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
x
FILE - Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
FILE - Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
Ukrainian officials have said that Moscow has moved as many as 100,000 Russian soldiers to Ukraine's eastern and southern borders. Western officials have put the number at around 40,000.

NATO's top commander, General Philip Breedlove, said Wednesday the Russian force is "ready to go" and could take over large parts of Ukraine in a little as three days, if such an order were given.

Foreign Minister Lavrov Thursday called on the West to de-escalate the rhetoric, which he said was crossing "into the unreasonable."

Russia-NATO tensions

Lavrov has also asked NATO for answers on its plans to beef up defenses in Eastern Europe -- a move seen as a direct response to the Russian takeover of Crimea.

Lavrov said any increase in NATO's permanent presence in eastern Europe would violate a 1997 treaty on NATO-Russian cooperation.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen expressed surprise Thursday at Russia’s claims, instead accusing Moscow of "violating every principle and international commitment it has made." He called Russian claims about NATO's actions "propaganda and disinformation."
  
FILE - NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh RasmussenFILE - NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen
x
FILE - NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen
FILE - NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen

At a meeting in Brussels earlier this week, NATO foreign ministers announced they will officially end all civilian and military cooperation with Russia. The ministers said they do not recognize the annexation of Crimea and urged Moscow to immediately comply with international law.

Responding to the move, Russia has recalled its top military representative to NATO “for consultations” to Moscow, a senior defense official was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying Thursday.

“We don't see an opportunity to continue military cooperation as usual with NATO,” said Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov, according to RIA Novosti.

Russia-Germany spat

Russia protested to Germany on Thursday over remarks by Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble which likened Russia's annexation of Crimea to Nazi Germany's expansion under Adolf Hitler.
 
“We consider such pseudo-historical references by the German minister provocative,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “The comparisons by [Schaeuble] are a gross manipulation of historic facts.”

 
FILE - Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang SchaeubleFILE - Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble
x
FILE - Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble
FILE - Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble
While Chancellor Angela Merkel has distanced herself from Schaeuble's comments, Russia conveyed its unhappiness to Germany’s ambassador in Moscow, Ruediger von Fritsch.

Speaking on Monday to a group of students, Schaeuble referred to the arguments used by Russian President Vladimir Putin to justify the annexation of Crimea. Putin cited the need to protect ethnic Russians in Ukraine, something Schaeuble said reminded him of Hitler's vows to protect ethnic Germans in the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia in 1938.

Hitler first annexed parts of Czechoslovakia, and a year later invaded the rest of the country.

Schaeuble's spokesman later denied that the minister had equated Russia with Hitler's Third Reich.

Aviation warning

Europe's aviation safety authority warned on Thursday of “serious risks” for international airlines flying over Crimea because there may be two services managing airspace there after the region's annexation by Russia.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said Russia had published a series of notices saying it intended to provide air traffic services within the area controlled by the flight information center at Simferopol, Crimea's main airport.

EASA, which is based in Germany, therefore said national aviation authorities in Europe should encourage carriers to avoid the airspace over Crimea, and use alternative routes.

“It is unsafe if more than one Air Traffic Service provider is in charge of one single Flight Information Region (FIR); no compromise can be made with the safety of the flying passengers,” Patrick Ky, executive director at EASA, said.

Some reporting by Reuters
 
 

You May Like

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Video Kenyans Lament Al-Shabab's Recruitment of Youths

VOA travels to Isiolo, where residents share their fears, struggles to get loved ones back from Somalia-based militant group More

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Isi from: Canada
April 06, 2014 9:01 AM
Really? First I thought the artice was about gas and the pricing of the same but then all of the other write ups on confering what happened in Ukraine and who is to blame came following a scantly discized article on Gas prices? The finish was even more impressive with the article veering into alliances and troops etc. Was the goal to link the hike to punishing Ukraine? If so a much better article could have bee written than this descized propaganda and brainwashing exercise. It is repeating the lines from most of the biased media out there, sad.

by: Don
April 04, 2014 2:31 PM
Is it possible for other countries such as Poland or Germany to work together and buy up surpluses of gas at the same rates as usual then sell or subsidize some of the gas back to Ukraine at a more sustainable rate?

This could circumvent radical gas hikes maybe.

by: Avery
April 04, 2014 3:52 AM
The prior natural gas price was part of Yanukovych's deal with Russia struck in December 2013. Since that deal was nixed by the coup government, this price hike returns gas to the prices of December 2013. I feel like this should be explained in the article.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensionsi
X
May 26, 2015 11:11 PM
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 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 US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
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 Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs