The European Uninion efforts to resolve a bitter gas dispute between
Russia and Ukraine foundered on Thursday when Russia reportedly refused
to agree to a EU proposal to send independent monitors to check
Russia's gas flow through Ukraine. Moscow's gas cuts have left some European countries facing shortfalls
during a bitter winter.
Efforts to resolve Russia-Ukraine price
dispute seemed to be making headway earlier in the day during European
Union (EU) sponsored talks between Moscow and Kiev. The EU have
proposed to send monitors to check the flow of Russian gas through
Ukraine after Moscow accused Kiev of stealing gas bound for Europe.
Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister Hryhoriy Nemryrya told reporters the two sides had reached a breakthrough.
pleased to inform you that we agreed with the European Union that the
EU monitors will be sent to Ukraine which we consider a positive and
quick response on the initiative of the Ukrainian government that we
highly value, because in our view, that could provide and help to
restore a confidence and to prevent the collapse of trust that would be
totally harmful for the frozen negotiations between [Ukraine gas
company] Naftgaz and [Russia's] Gazprom," he said.
But later ,
the Czech Republic that currently holds the EU Presidency said Russian
energy giant Gazprom had rejected the EU proposals for monitors.
Russia in turn blamed Ukraine.
More than a week since Russia cut
its gas supplies for Kiev,a number of European countries are feeling
the fallout of reduced gas supplies imported via the Ukraine. More
than a dozen countries have reported a halt in gas shipments, with some
citizens in Bulgaria, Bosnia and Serbia have been left without heat in
icy winter weather.