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

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs