News / Europe

Ukraine Stolen Gas Claim Raises Stakes in Dispute With Russia

A gas pipeline station worker passing the gas pressure engines in Bil 'che-Volicko-Ugerske underground gas storage facilities in Strij, outside Lviv, Ukraine, May 21, 2014.
A gas pipeline station worker passing the gas pressure engines in Bil 'che-Volicko-Ugerske underground gas storage facilities in Strij, outside Lviv, Ukraine, May 21, 2014.
Reuters
Ukraine raised the stakes in a dispute with Russia over gas supplies on Tuesday, saying Russian state-controlled company Gazprom owed Kyiv natural gas worth around $1 billion which it had "stolen'' when Moscow annexed Crimea.

Russia has warned it will reduce gas supplies to Ukraine on June 3 if Kyiv fails to pay in advance for next month's deliveries, causing concerns that onward supplies to Europe could be threatened.

With newfound confidence inspired by the election of a  Ukrainian president at the weekend, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said gas talks with Russia could not progress until he heard Moscow's response on giving back the 2.2 billion cubic meters of gas which he said was taken when the country's Black Sea region was annexed by Russia in March.

The dispute has strained ties between the two neighbors since Moscow almost doubled the price for its deliveries to Ukraine after protesters toppled a pro-Russia Ukrainian president.

Implications for EU

It has also renewed concern in the European Union that there could be disruptions to Russian supplies delivered through pipelines that cross Ukraine.

"We want to hear a response from Russia... on the question of returning to Ukraine 2.2 billion cubic meters of gas which Russia stole through Chernomornaftogaz on the territory of [Crimea]," Yatsenyuk told a televised session of his cabinet.

He did not explain the source of that figure but Kyiv had referred earlier to a similar figure held in storage in Crimea.

Yatsenyuk also said if there was no agreement between the two sides by May 29, Ukraine would next meet Gazprom at the Stockholm arbitration court, which would try to resolve the dispute.

He reiterated that Kyiv would pay off its debts when there was an agreement on price.

Asked about the accusation that Moscow had stolen gas, Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said: "We have no idea what he means."

He added that as far as Moscow was concerned, both sides had come up with a plan of action at EU-brokered talks in Berlin: Ukraine would pay Russia $2 billion of its debts by the end of the week, and $500 million by June 7 for May deliveries.

"This position seemed to be the final decision of the three-way meeting," he said.

Discounted gas price

Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller told Rossiya-24 television late on Monday that the company was ready to provide a discounted gas price for Ukraine but only after Kyiv paid at least part of its debt.

Moscow says Ukraine's gas debt stands at $3.5 billion and will switch to pre-payment for June, promising to deliver as much gas as it was paid for.

On Monday, the European Union's energy commissioner, Guenther Oettinger, said Russia and Ukraine had made progress on price at talks in Berlin and that both were considering his proposal for Ukraine to pay $2 billion of its debts by Thursday, which could pave the way for talks on Friday.

But Ukraine's state gas company Naftogaz said on Tuesday no real progress was made with Gazprom, accusing Moscow of sticking to an "unconstructive" position.

Naftogaz said it was ready to pay bills if "a civilized compromise" was found to ensure gas flows to Ukraine.

Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuri Prodan said on Monday there was no final agreement after the Berlin talks and he would not confirm that Ukraine had agreed to pay $2 billion on Thursday. He said the two sides have until Wednesday night to decide.

Sticking point: 2009 contract

Ukraine wants to change a 2009 contract that locked Kyiv into buying a set volume of gas, whether it needs it or not, at $485 per 1,000 cubic meters - the highest price paid by any client in Europe.

Moscow dropped the price to $268.50 after Ukraine's then-President Viktor Yanukovich turned his back on a trade and association agreement with the European Union last year, but reinstated the original price after he was ousted in February.

Ukraine seeks a price of $268.50 per 1,000 cubic meters while Russia still wants $485. Oettinger is trying to get the two sides to agree in the middle.

You May Like

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine Could Be in Use by January

Assistant director says that clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, United States, Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ringo from: RF
May 28, 2014 3:10 AM
This is the market, this is democracy, this is free trade at free prices. United States as a bulwark of democracy certainly will support freedom of pricing on the world market. This is business and nothing personal.


by: John Hunter from: Pittsburgh
May 27, 2014 1:37 PM
You'd figure taking Crimea would've settled that debt.


by: Erik from: Sweden
May 27, 2014 10:39 AM
Why isn't the largest country in the world enough for president Putin?


by: Punnisher from: Florida
May 27, 2014 8:58 AM
So the price of 268 was good as long as Victor Yanukovich was Pres otherwise the price is 485 per 1000 cu mtrs, Hmmm ? I smell a RAT

In Response

by: Bayo from: Houston
May 27, 2014 10:41 AM
If your neighbour suddenly turn enemy, will you continue favouring him?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid