News / Europe

    Russia Urges Order in Ukraine as Gas Talks Begin

    Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (L) meets with Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Boiko at the Gorki residence outside Moscow, Russia, Dec. 4, 2013.
    Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (L) meets with Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Boiko at the Gorki residence outside Moscow, Russia, Dec. 4, 2013.
    Reuters
    Russia called on Wednesday for “stability and order” in neighboring Ukraine as the two countries held their first high-level talks since Kyiv pulled out of a trade alliance with the European Union.

    Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev hosted a Ukrainian delegation led by a deputy prime minister, Yuri Boiko, that is seeking cheaper gas and financial aid to close gaping external deficits that could set off a balance of payments crisis.

    Risks of a financial meltdown in Ukraine, a former Soviet republic of 46 million, became acute after mass demonstrations in Kyiv last weekend against President Viktor Yanukovych and his government over a decision to seek closer alliance with Moscow.

    “You are having quite an active political season,” Medvedev told Boiko in a meeting at his residence outside Moscow, according to the Interfax news agency.

    “Of course this is an internal matter, but it is very important that there be stability and order in the country.”

    Russian President Vladimir Putin had threatened financial sanctions against Kyiv if it signed a trade agreement with the EU last week. Yanukovych abandoned the deal at the last moment, surprising European leaders and angering domestic critics.

    Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov told his cabinet that the Boiko visit would continue a dialog with Russia on trade and economic relations that are “very critical for maintaining and developing Ukrainian industry and economy.”

    The Boiko visit was clearly part of the government's plans to sketch out what the Ukrainians hope will be a 'roadmap' for future economic ties with their old Soviet master.

    No immediate breakthroughs were announced but Yanukovych, who was visiting China, was expected to meet Putin soon.

    Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin would not meet Boiko. No date had yet been set for an encounter between the two presidents.

    Gas payments

    Adding to the pressure on Ukraine, the CEO of Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom, Alexei Miller, said no deal had been reached to put off payment of any portion of Kiev's debt for gas deliveries this year.

    “We are seeking options to resolve this issue, we are holding talks, but no agreements have been reached at this point,” Miller said in a statement. He said Ukraine owes just over $2 billion for August, October and November.

    The head of Ukraine's state-run energy firm Naftogaz, Yevhen Bakulin, had been quoted as saying on Tuesday that it had agreed with Gazprom to defer payments for the final three months of 2013 until spring.

    Bakulin also said Naftogaz would pay $765 million due to Gazprom for deliveries in August.

    Ukraine faces huge problems to finance a current account deficit of 7 percent of gross domestic product. Cheaper Russian gas would buy time for Kyiv to find ways to meet outside funding needs estimated at $17 billion next year.

    Ukraine's central bank intervened again on the currency market to support the value of the national hryvnia currency, amid concerns that its stock of foreign reserves of $20 billion will be sufficient to hold the line.

    The cost of insuring Ukrainian government debt for five years rose to 1,097 basis points, near-four-year highs. Levels over 1,000 basis points are indicative of financial distress.

    You May Like

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.