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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' at 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid