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

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid