News / Europe

Ukraine, Russia Resume Gas Talks Amid Conflict

FILE - A worker turns a valve at an underground gas storage facility near Striy, Ukraine, May 21, 2014.
FILE - A worker turns a valve at an underground gas storage facility near Striy, Ukraine, May 21, 2014.
Gabe Joselow
A Russian official says Ukraine and Russia are meeting Monday to resolve a natural gas dispute after Moscow threatened to cut-off supplies if Ukraine does not pay outstanding debts. The dispute adds to tension between the two countries, as Ukraine combats a pro-Russian insurgency in the east.

A spokeswoman for Russia's energy ministry said Ukrainian and Russian energy officials, as well as a representative of the European Union, are sitting down in Brussels for the negotiations.

The heart of the issue is a dispute between the two countries over how much Ukraine should pay for Russian gas.

Moscow has threatened to cut off supplies as early as Tuesday if Ukraine does not pay its debts, a move that also would disrupt flows to Europe.

Price spike

In April, Russia nearly doubled the price of gas to Ukraine to $480 per 1000 cubic meters, a decision that followed the ousting of Ukraine's former Russian-backed president Viktor Yanukovych.

Russia also angered Ukraine with the annexation of Crimea in March, while Russian fighters have been seen among rebels involved in a separatist uprising in eastern Ukraine. Moscow denies the allegations.

Valentin Zemlyansky, a former press secretary for Ukraine's gas company Naftogaz, said that despite these conflicts between the countries, he expects both sides to remain pragmatic during gas negotiations.

“The current situation inside the country,” he said, “has more of an impact on the mood of society than on relationships in the sphere of gas talks.”

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who took office Saturday, has urged a ceasefire this week in the restive Donbas region -- the heart of the pro-Russian insurgency.

Bloody battles

In his inaugural address, he promised amnesty for fighters who do not have Ukrainian blood on their hands.

Meantime, separatist forces accuse Ukraine's military of killing civilians during counter-insurgency operations.

In Donetsk province Sunday, a separatist commander held a news conference alongside six captured Ukrainian soldiers.

In a video of the event, Commander Sergey Zdriluk said he believes the conflict will come to a turning point when Ukrainian soldiers start to realize they are killing their own people.

Zdriluk asked the captured soldiers to answer questions about their orders, and about whether they feel “deceived.” They are then asked questions by Russian-speaking journalists.

A spokesman for Ukraine's so-called "anti-terror operation," Vladyslav Seleznyov, denounced the news conference as a farce. In a post on Facebook, he called for the soldiers and prisoners of war to be treated in accordance with international law.

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Sergey Lavrov from: Russ
June 09, 2014 10:47 PM
The North Atlantic alliance’s attempts to go eastwards are “artificial” and contradict the pledge not to expand “one inch to the east” given to Russia, Russia’s Foreign Minister said after meeting his Finnish counterpart Erkki Tuomioja.

"The artificial attempt to continue NATO's eastward expansion, progression of the military infrastructure to the east, closer to Russia's borders, is counterproductive,” the Lavrov pointed out at a joint press conference in Finland's Turku.

The strategy contradicts the bloc’s agreement with Russia and the terms of their work in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Lavrov said.

Earlier this month, US President Barack Obama announced a plan to invest $1 billion in stepping up its military presence in Eastern Europe. Following Obama's commitment, US said it would be increasing its military presence in the Black Sea region.

A couple days later, on the same day Lavrov made his point, a major military exercise with ten NATO member countries participating kicked off in Latvia, involving 4,700 troops and 800 military vehicles.

Russia sees NATO's moves as a sign of aggression in the midst of the Ukrainian crisis.

When asked about the latter, Lavrov said that if Kiev chooses Europe as their economic associate, they should "understand all the responsibility within the framework of the existing agreements with the CIS".

However, the Russian FM reminded Kiev that no one should “strengthen their security at the expense of others,” whatever course Ukraine’s new leaders may choose.

The Russian foreign minister also labeled EU intentions to freeze the South Stream project as not being constructive, and blamed "some countries" for trying to interfere in the energy dialogue between Russia and the European Union. Although the minister said there were issues before the Ukrainian crisis: "For many years our partners in Brussels refused to finish work on a new basic agreement, demanding that we give additional unilateral concessions."

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More