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

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to enhancement or regression of democracy for Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents 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.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid