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Ukraine Gas Again – New Crisis

  • January 4th, 2009
  • Posted by EUEditor

ukraine-gas2-europarl.jpgRussian energy authorities announced they had increased the flow of gas despatched to European customers (4.1.09) in response to complaints from some of them, e.g. in Hungary and Poland, that the pressure of the supply had dropped.

COMMERCIAL, AND POLITICAL WARFARE

ukraine-gas.jpgThe Russian producer Gazprom says it is suing its Ukrainian Naftogaz Ukrainy in an international court for non-payment of accounts.

The conflict revolves around steep increases in tariffs for gas sent to Ukraine since the break-up of the former Soviet Union – adding to generally tense political relations between the two governments.

In a similar stand-off, in 2006, Russia cut off supplies to Ukrainian gas plants, which then began to siphon off supplies in pipelines, in transit to the European Union.

The action threatened Winter shortages in several European states, which buy over 20% of their gas from Russia.

Anxious European leaders demanded reassurances from Russia that it would not hold back supplies destined for them; and the outcry in 2009, so far, has been less urgent in
diplomatic circles and in European news media.

EU STATEMENT

However the European Council on 2.2.09 was keeping up the pressure, releasing a declaration on behalf of the EU, on the “interruption of Russian gas supply through Ukraine”.

It read:

“The European Union calls for an urgent solution to the commercial dispute on gas supplies from the Russian Federation to Ukraine, and for an immediate resumption of full deliveries of gas to the EU member states.

“Energy relations between the EU and its neighbours should be based on reliability and predict ability. Existing commitments to supply and transit have to be honoured under all circumstances.

“The European Union regrets the fact that assurances of the reliability of energy supply have not been met and will continue to monitor the situation closely.”

Reference:

Council of the European Union, Brussels, “Declaration of the Presidency … on interruption of Russian gas supply through Ukraine”, Media Release, 2.1.09. 5003 (Presse 1).

Pictures: gas pipelines from Ukraine, Europarl; Ukraine gas plant, kievukraine.info

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