Friday 15 December 2017

Ukraine crisis: Vladimir Putin will cut gas to Europe unless Russia is paid by the end of the week

Ukraine crisis: Vladimir Putin will cut gas to Europe unless Russia is paid by the end of the week
Ukraine crisis: Vladimir Putin will cut gas to Europe unless Russia is paid by the end of the week

Zachary Davies Boren

Europe could face a gas crisis at the end of the week, with Russian President Vladimir Putin threatening to stop supply to Ukraine unless it receives advance payment.

The 147 billion cubic metres of gas Russia last year delivered to Europe represented about a third of the continent's needs, and 40 per cent of that arrived via Ukraine.

Putin yesterday claimed that, as stipulated in the Kiev-Moscow energy contract hashed out late last year, Russian gas giant Gazprom "will suspend deliveries" if it is not prepaid.

He said: "This may create a threat to transit to Europe, to our European partners.

"We hope that gas supplies will not be interrupted. But this does not depend only on us, it depends on the financial discipline of our Ukrainian partners."

Around the time of the annexation of Crimea, Russia turned off the gas to Ukraine, the third time it has done so in the last 10 years.

A protester throws a Molotov cocktail during clashes with police in central Kiev, Ukraine on January 22, 2014 during anti-government protests. A year later, so much has changed. Russian president Vladimir Putin has annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, Ukraine has a new president and government, and the country is in embroiled in a war in the east with Russia-backed separatists
A protester throws a Molotov cocktail during clashes with police in central Kiev, Ukraine on January 22, 2014 during anti-government protests. A year later, so much has changed. Russian president Vladimir Putin has annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, Ukraine has a new president and government, and the country is in embroiled in a war in the east with Russia-backed separatists
Day by day, Russian President Vladimir Putin is dismembering Ukraine
A photo of Russia's President Vladimir Putin is seen on a poster as people attend an "Anti-Maidan" rally to protest against the 2014 Kiev uprising, which ousted President Viktor Yanukovich. The writing on the poster reads "I support Putin" (REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev)
Russian President Vladimir Putin had earlier told Ukrainian soldiers they should give up to 'save their own lives'
Russian President Vladimir Putin claims that the US is hiding spyware in computer hardrives (REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, right, attend a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow, Russia yesterday (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Ukrainian soldiers unload bodies of Ukrainian soldiers killed in Debaltsevo yesterday, at a checkpoint near Gorlivka (AFP PHOTO)
Vladimir Putin and his former wife Lyudmila.
Ukrainian soldiers stand next to a tank at a checkpoint near Gorlivka

The energy-based relationship between the countries continues to be treated as a battleground in the regional conflict, with Putin particularly unhappy that Kiev has stopped supplying gas to territories run by pro-Russian rebels.

He said: "Imagine these people will be left without gas in winter. Not only that there is famine.

"It smells of genocide."

Ukraine reportedly has enough gas for the remainder of the week, and Russia is currently directly supplying the country's rebel-controlled regions.

Alexei Miller, the head of Russian gas company Gazprom , told the head of Ukrainian state energy company, Naftogaz, in a letter that Kiev had only three days left of prepaid gas deliveries from Russia.

After that, Interfax news agency cited Miller as saying, Ukraine would be cut off.

A Gazprom spokesman said there had been no decision on whether to shut off supplies yet and Energy Minister Alexander Novak said he hoped a payment dispute with Kiev would not lead to a break in gas supplies to Europe.

"We are counting on a new prepayment for Russian gas being made on time. There should be no break in gas supplies to European customers," Novak said in a statement.

Independent News Service

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