Russia and Ukraine fight over natural gas

Disputes between Russian state-controlled gas supplier Gazprom and Ukraine over natural gas supplies, prices and debts have threatened natural gas supplies in numerous European countries that depend on Russian natural gas.

In January 2009, the dispute resulted in 18 European countries reporting major falls or cut-offs of gas supplies from Ukrainian pipelines carrying Gazprom gas bound for them.

Gazprom accused Ukraine of stealing gas; according to Naftohaz it is not stealing gas but removing gas for technical purposes, in order to ensure the transit of Russian exports and diverting some gas to maintain pressure in the pipeline network.

According to Naftohaz: “A lack of technical agreement between Naftohaz Ukrainy and Gazprom will make it impossible to determine directions and technical volume for equally distributing transit gas among EU member countries”.

On 5 January 2009 Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin instructed Gazprom’s Alexei Miller to cut supplies sent via Ukraine to Europe; Putin elaborated that the gas flow should be reduced by the amount Ukraine had allegedly taken since deliveries ended on 1 January 2008.

Naftohaz denied the accusation and accused Gazprom of cutting the supplies sent via Ukraine from 262 million to 73.6 million cubic meters during the night between 5 and 6 January 2008. On 7 January 2009 Russia stopped all gas supplies to Europe through Ukraine.

On 8 January 2009 negotiations started in Brussels. Alexei Miller of Gazprom said, his company is ready to resume the gas supply via Ukraine but demanded an international monitoring of pipelines.

Under the pressure of the EU the Ukraine agreed to let a joint monitoring mission into the country. Along with this, a quick resumption of gas supply to Europe is expected.

Related:

2009/01/07 – Natural gas crisis hits Austria and Turkey

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