News / Europe

Ukraine Ready to Pay Russia $4B by End of May for Gas

  • Pro-Russian gunmen sit on an armored personnel carrier with the words read "Battalion Vostok (East) " as they patrol in Donetsk, Ukraine, May 20, 2014.
  • Coal miners sit on a bus after finishing their shift at a coal mine outside Donetsk, Ukraine, May 20, 2014.
  • Vyacheslav Ponomarev, the self-proclaimed mayor of Slovyansk, speaks to citizens whose homes were ruined by shelling in Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, May 20, 2014.
  • Yekaterina Len cries inside the remains of her house damaged by shelling as her grandson stands near her, in Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, May 20, 2014.
  • Presidential candidate Petro Poroshenko meets with supporters in the Cherkasy region, central Ukraine, May 20, 2014.
  • A pro-Russian militant defends a front line position with a machine gun, Slovyansk, Ukraine, May 19, 2014. 
  • Residents watch the flames from a damaged gas pipe that was hit by a mortar bomb, during fighting between Ukrainian government troops and pro-Russian militants, outside Slovyansk, Ukraine, May 19, 2014. 
  • Pro-Russian militants detain three men they suspect of spying for the Ukrainian government in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine, May 18, 2014. 
  • A pro-Ukrainian activist prepares to hoist the Ukrainian flag in the town of Velika Novosyolka, in the Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, May 17, 2014.
  • A masked pro-Russian militant stands behind the barricades at a checkpoint blocking the major highway outside Kharkiv, eastern Ukraine, May 17, 2014.
Images from Ukraine
VOA News
Ukraine expressed readiness to settle its gas bill with Russia, saying it would pay $4 billion by the end of May. Deputy Energy Minister Ihor Didenko made the announcement Thursday, adding that Kyiv used $268.5 per 1,000 cubic meters as the base price to calculate the amount.

Speaking at a news conference in Kyiv, Didenko said that the payment will be made if the price is fixed at $268.5.

He also said Ukraine planned to import from Russia 3.4 billion cubic meters of gas in May. Russia is currently asking Ukraine to pay $485 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas, the highest price it charges any European customer.

Russian President Vladimir Putin urged European Union leaders on Thursday to do more to help Ukraine through its economic crisis and said Moscow was ready for consultations with Europe over Kyiv's gas debts. At the same time Putin insisted that, starting in June, Russia will deliver gas to Ukraine only if it pays in advance.

Ukrainian Finance Minister Oleksandr Shlapak said that it was Russia’s turn for concessions.

“We believe Ukraine has already made many concessions in the gas area, it is now time for Russia to make concessions,” Shlapak said at the EBRD's annual meeting in Warsaw. “The gas price has remained astronomically high.”

Moscow and Kyiv reaching a compromise would reduce the threat of a shut-off of Russian gas exports to Ukraine that could affect supplies to other parts of Europe.

EU energy commissioner Guenther Oettinger said he was optimistic that the gas row could be resolved by the end of the month.

Sectoral sanctions possible

The United States and its European allies found broad unity on Thursday that Russia should face sectoral sanctions if the Kremlin tries to disrupt Ukrainian elections later this month, a senior U.S. official said.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry briefed foreign ministers from Germany, France, Britain and Italy on U.S. thinking about possible sanctions, which would cover some of Russia's largest sectors including mining and gas.

“All ministers, led by Secretary Kerry, underscored that a free, fair election across Ukraine, including the east, on May 25 is absolutely essential,” a senior State Department official who spoke on condition of anonymity told reporters in London.

The U.S. and Europe urged Russia on Thursday to refrain from any actions that could prevent this month's presidential election from going ahead peacefully, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said. He added that Western foreign ministers had agreed Russian behavior towards the election would determine whether Moscow would face additional sanctions.

Clear frontrunner

Billionaire Petro Poroshenko is crystallizing as a clear frontrunner in Ukraine's May 25 presidential election, and could win in the first round of voting, a new poll found.
FILE - Presidential candidate Petro PoroschenkoFILE - Presidential candidate Petro Poroschenko
FILE - Presidential candidate Petro Poroschenko
FILE - Presidential candidate Petro Poroschenko

The 49-year-old confectionery magnate, who has previously served as foreign minister and economy minister, could garner the support of 54.7 percent of voters, a survey by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology found. More than 50 percent of votes are needed for an outright win.

Poroshenko, who actively supported the pro-Europe protests which ousted Moscow-backed president Viktor Yanukovych in February, is trailed by former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko with 9.6 percent, down from 14 percent a month ago, and several other candidates with single-digit support.

Insurgent bases destroyed

Meanwhile, Ukraine's acting president said the army has destroyed two military bases of pro-Russian insurgents.

Oleksandr Turchynov told Ukraine's parliament Thursday troops destroyed an insurgent military base outside the eastern town of Kramatorsk in one overnight operation. In another, troops obliterated a separatist base in the nearby town of Slovyansk. Turchynov said troops also had control of a television tower in Slovyansk.
Insurgents have seized government buildings across eastern Ukraine, fought the Ukrainian military and declared "sovereignty" in two eastern regions.

Rebel ultimatum

A senior separatist commander in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region has threatened attacks on Ukrainian military checkpoints if they are not withdrawn on Thursday, according to a Facebook video.

In the 30-minute clip Sergei Zdrilyuk warns he has covert groups already in place. The video was posted on the Facebook page of rebel official Pavel Gubarev.

Zdrilyuk set 9:00 pm local time as a deadline.

Rebels have issued similar ultimatums in the past but none resulted in any significant follow-up.
Unity talks

Ukraine launched talks Wednesday on national unity without the participation of the pro-Russian separatists, who are seeking autonomy from Kyiv in the country's east and southeast.

The talks, which opened 11 days ahead of Ukrainian presidential elections, are part of a "road map" plan backed by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Analysts say deliberately omitting separatists from the discussions raises doubts about whether the meetings will ease ethnic tensions threatening to rip the country apart.

Separatists have dismissed the Kyiv talks.

No formal annexation request

Moscow has received no formal annexation request from separatists in Ukraine’s eastern region of Donetsk following self-rule referendums last weekend, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

Following votes in Donetsk and Luhansk regions on May 11, the pro-Moscow separatist leader in Donetsk reportedly asked for the Russian Federation to consider “absorption” of the region.

Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said he has not heard about an official request having been received.

The votes in Donetsk and Luhansk seemed to mimic a poll held in March in Ukraine’s Crimea, which Moscow subsequently annexed.

Putin support in Russia soars
Eighty-one percent of Russians would be ready to vote for Vladimir Putin if presidential elections were held now, a poll found.
According to a survey by Levada research group, Putin’s approval rating has been steadily rising over the past months. It stood at 77 percent in April and 68 percent in January.
The spike coincides with the escalation of the crisis in Ukraine.
Presidential elections in Russia are not due until 2018. Should Putin, 61, decide to run and prevail, he would serve a fourth non-consecutive term since originally coming to power in 2000. He has not ruled out another run.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Toddy from: Afghanistan
May 15, 2014 11:16 AM
Process Russia is following should be familiar to anyone who has tried to not pay their utility bills. I dont see why Russia should subsidise Ukraine.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs