News / Europe

    Ukraine OKs Preliminary Emergency Energy Plans

    FILE - This Wednesday May 21, 2014 file photo shows a gas pressure gauge in Bil 'che-Volicko-Ugerske underground gas storage facilities in Strij, outside Lviv, Ukraine. Russia on Monday, June 16, 2014
    FILE - This Wednesday May 21, 2014 file photo shows a gas pressure gauge in Bil 'che-Volicko-Ugerske underground gas storage facilities in Strij, outside Lviv, Ukraine. Russia on Monday, June 16, 2014
    Reuters

    Ukraine's parliament gave preliminary approval on Friday to a draft law that would allow the Kyiv government to exert tighter control over the energy sector in the face of dwindling natural gas supplies after Russia cut off exports last month.

    The parliament also approved, in a first reading, a bill that would allow consortiums with European or U.S. companies to operate Ukraine's aging gas distribution system and storage facilities.

    "Russia is trying to tighten as many screws as possible on us," Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk told parliament, urging it to give his government the right to declare a "state of emergency" in the energy sector.

    "A gas war has been rolled out against us. The country is on the brink (of energy collapse)."

    Russia, Ukraine's main supplier of gas as well as natural gas for Europe via Ukraine, cut off supplies to the ex-Soviet republic on June 16 in a dispute over unpaid bills.

    It has also hinted it will take retaliatory trade measures against Ukraine over its signature last month of a free trade deal with the European Union.

    The head of Ukraine's state energy company Naftogaz said that the legislation proposed by the government could help Ukraine get through the winter without Russian gas by reducing consumption by around 20 percent.

    "We have to cut our gas consumption by approximately 6 billion cubic meters for the season, that is 20 percent. Then we can get through the winter," Naftogaz head Andriy Kobolev told a news conference.

    "If we do what we plan, then we'll get through the winter with gas from Europe," he said.

    He said Naftogaz would advise the government to sell gas domestically at a fixed price and force Ukrainian energy companies producing gas from domestic wells to send half their supplies into Ukraine's storage facilities.

    After the winter, he said, the companies would have access to the gas and be able to sell it to customers of their choosing.

    Parliament initially rejected the government's energy proposals, but resumed discussion and took a vote on the two draft laws on Friday after speaker Oleksander Turchynov warned that without them many homes could be left without heating in winter. "There is a risk for millions of our citizens. This is a question of survival," he warned.

    Yatseniuk, urging cooperation with European or U.S. companies in operating the Soviet-era gas pipeline system, said this would bring structural modernization essential for Ukraine given Russian plans to build a gas pipeline system that would bypass Ukraine.

    "Adoption of this law opens the way to Ukraine to become an energy player," Yatseniuk said.

    Some deputies on Thursday had voiced fears over possible retaliation from Russia if it were not given the same access to Ukraine's gas infrastructure as would be offered U.S. and European firms.

    Russia had previously offered to buy into Ukraine's gas distribution system in return for cheaper gas.

    The draft laws on possible "state of emergency" powers would give the government the right to dictate to gas companies to whom they should supply gas and for how much, irrespective of supply obligations under existing contracts.

    The proposed legislation appeared to apply to private gas companies as well as the state gas and oil company Naftogaz, Ukraine's biggest gas importer.

    The draft laws are expected to go to parliament for a second reading at the end of July or in August.

    You May Like

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Joseph Effiong from: calabar - nigeria
    July 06, 2014 11:50 AM
    This will help freed Ukraine from russia's-gas-slavery .

    by: Anonymous
    July 04, 2014 11:07 AM
    Wouldn't it be easier just to pay your bills?

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese Americans for Trump Going Against National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese Americans for Trump Going Against National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora