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

Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

Iraqi Kurd President Urges World Community to Protect Syrian City

Islamic State fighters are besieging Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab, after seizing at least 21 surrounding villages in a major assault against city on Syria's northern border with Turkey More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 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.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid