Tuesday, May 26, 2009
EU asks Russia, Ukraine to prevent new gas rows
22 May, 2009 - The Moscow News - The European Union is calling on Russia and Ukraine to prevent gas conflicts in the future, after Russia’s President Mikhail Medvedev expressed doubts over Kiev’s ability to pay for its gas and said a new gas row could be near. The EU asks Russia and Ukraine to do everything in their power to prevent such crises, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told a news conference after the Russia-EU summit in Khabarovsk on Friday. The EU believes that some of Russia's initiatives dealing with a new legal framework for cooperation in the energy sector deserve Brussels' attention, Barroso was quoted by Interfax as saying. A repeat of the two countries' row over gas prices would hardly benefit the general atmosphere of relations, Barroso said. That is why the EU proposes developing an early warning mechanism, in which political will plays an important role, he said. Ukraine should pay more than $4 billion this year for 19.5 billion cubic meters of gas to be pumped into storage, Medvedev was quoted by Bloomberg as saying at a news conference today with EU leaders. About 80 percent of state-run OAO Gazprom’s exports of natural gas to Europe flow via Ukrainian pipelines. The January pricing dispute between Russia and Ukraine renewed calls in Europe to diversify fuel supplies away from Russia.