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

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs