Ukraine wants to buy European gas

Comment on this story
Yuri Prodan1 Reuters. Ukraine's Energy Minister Yuri Prodan talks to the media before the government meeting in Kiev April 9, 2014. Prodan was quoted by Interfax news agency on Tuesday as saying Russia's decision to nearly double gas prices to Ukraine was unjustified and Kiev would not pay.

Kiev - Ukraine hopes to buy gas from Europe to shore up its energy security, fearful Russia will cut gas supplies over Kiev's refusal to pay Moscow's “political, uneconomic price” for supplies, its energy minister said on Friday.

Yuri Prodan told parliament the European Union would stand in solidarity with Ukraine if Russia reduced supplies, making sure Moscow could not increase flows through alternative pipelines to bypass its former Soviet neighbour.

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned European leaders on Thursday that gas supplies to Europe could be disrupted by Ukraine's failure to pay its gas bills, a move Washington said was using energy “as a tool of coercion”.

“Ukraine cannot pay such a political, uneconomic price, so now we are negotiating with the European Union about reverse deliveries into Ukraine,” Prodan said.

“We will make gas purchases from reverse flows urgently. On the conditions offered by European gas companies. We plan that they will be Germany's RWE and a French gas company,” in remarks many in Kiev took as a reference to GDF Suez.

Russia has nearly doubled the gas price it charges Ukraine, punishing an economy that for years was mismanaged by pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovich and has been in freefall since he was toppled in violent protests.

Kiev's new leaders accuse Moscow of using gas as a way of punishing them for pursuing closer ties with the EU.

Ukraine has vowed to look elsewhere for gas, but Russian state gas company Gazprom has questioned the legality of reversing flows so that Europe can export it to Ukraine.

Prodan said Ukraine could get small amounts of gas from Poland and Hungary, and a bigger volume from Slovakia, but there were “political questions” to be solved.

Slovakia has called for talks with Ukraine, Russia and the European Commission, the EU executive, to ensure it can export gas to Ukraine without violating existing contracts.

Russia, Ukraine, the EU and the United States are due to meet in Geneva on Thursday to talk about the Ukraine crisis.

Prodan also said Ukraine would turn to an arbitration tribunal in Stockholm to try to cancel a deal struck with Russia in 2009, when Kiev agreed an inflated price. - Reuters

sign up

Comment Guidelines

  1. Please read our comment guidelines.
  2. Login and register, if you haven’ t already.
  3. Write your comment in the block below and click (Post As)
  4. Has a comment offended you? Hover your mouse over the comment and wait until a small triangle appears on the right-hand side. Click triangle () and select "Flag as inappropriate". Our moderators will take action if need be.

  5. Verified email addresses: All users on Independent Media news sites are now required to have a verified email address before being allowed to comment on articles. You are only required to verify your email address once to have full access to commenting on articles. For more information please read our comment guidelines