News / Europe

Russia, Ukraine, Former Natural Gas Trading Partners, Now Trade Insults

FILE - A pressure gauge is seen at a gas compressor station near Uzhhorod, western Ukraine, May 2014.
FILE - A pressure gauge is seen at a gas compressor station near Uzhhorod, western Ukraine, May 2014.
James Brooke
— Russia and Ukraine, once brotherly nations, are fighting over natural gas deliveries and military aid.
 
Russia has stopped buying potatoes from Ukraine and selling gas to Ukraine. In return, Ukraine wants to seal its border with Russia, accusing the Kremlin of sending tanks and cannons to help Ukraine’s separatists.
 
Just when relations could not get worse, Ukraine’s acting foreign minister called Russian President Vladimir Putin a "dickhead.”
 
In a video clip that has gone viral on the Internet, Ukraine’s top diplomat, Andriy Deshchytsia, can be seen trying to calm several hundred young demonstrators. They had just splattered the Russian embassy in Kyiv with eggs and green paint and had turned over three cars belonging to Russian diplomats.

Bitter recriminations

After the diplomat utters the insult, the crowd pauses. Then, they start to sing the phrase, a refrain made popular recently by sport fans who had united to  defend Ukraine’s unity.
 
Error rendering Timeline.

In Moscow, the reaction Monday was as chilly as the out of season Arctic weather now cloaking the Russian capital. Politician after politician demanded the resignation of the Ukrainian who had insulted Russia’s ruler. For almost 15 years, Putin has stood at the summit of Russia’s “vertikal vlasti” -- or “vertical of power”
 
In his Facebook blog, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev denounced what he called “the paranoid behavior of the acting foreign minister near the Russian Embassy in Kyiv.”
 
At a press conference, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was equally chilly. He said, "As to the person called Deschytsia, like I said, I have nothing to talk to him about anymore."
 
Gas supplies

On the other side of the border, some Ukrainians backed the use of undiplomatic language.
 
Dmytro Tymchuk, head of the Center for Political and Military Studies in Kyiv, said, "We have a free country. I don’t see anything wrong here.”

For some, the name calling incident was a welcome diversion from the more worrying fact that Russia stopped selling gas to Ukraine on Monday.

Ukraine owes Russia almost $5 billion for overdue gas bills -- and refuses to pay.

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk told a cabinet meeting on Monday, “Ukrainians will not pull $5 billion out of their pockets a year so that Russia can use this money to buy arms, tanks, and planes and bomb Ukrainian territory.”
 
In response, Medvedev went on national television to accuse Ukraine of turning down “ultra-discount” prices to create an “artificial gas crisis” with Europe.
 
"This is deplorable," he said. "This truly smells of blackmail.”
 
Ukrainian officials say they can hold out with their own gas reserves through December. Facing six months of gas talks, and a secessionist war in the east, many Ukrainians are enjoying the distraction of a diplomatic spat with Russia.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid