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

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More