Ukraine accused of blocking resumed gas supply


Ukraine has been accused of blocking Russian gas flow to Europe just hours after supplies were resumed.

Gazprom notified the European Commission of Ukraine’s “unreasonable” actions and may declare force majeure on shipments, Gazprom Deputy Chief Executive Officer Alexander Medvedev said.

AK Naftogaz Ukrainy, the state energy company, said there wasn’t enough pressure in the pipelines to pump gas.

Gazprom, the Russian supplier of a quarter of the continent’s natural gas, had attempted to resume deliveries suspended for a week after European Union observers began monitoring transit at metering stations in Russia and Ukraine under an accord signed yesterday.

The EU said “ittle or no” gas was flowing to the Union through Ukraine. “This situation is obviously very serious and needs to improve rapidly,” EU spokeswoman Pia Ahrenkilde-Hansen told reporters in Brussels.

Gazprom halted transit flows through Ukraine on January 7th after accusing Ukraine of taking gas for its own use, a charge the country denies. The cutoff has renewed calls for the EU to diversify its sources of energy away from Russia.

Negotiations between Russia and Ukraine over gas prices and transit fees in the former Soviet republic remained stalled even after yesterday’s EU-brokered agreement.

“The door is closed as before,” Mr Medvedev said. “We did not close the door. We are doing our utmost to resume flows to our customers. Unfortunately we can’t transit gas physically through Ukraine”.

The Ukrainians may be “dancing to the music which is being orchestrated not in Kiev but outside the country,” Mr Medvedev said, referring to the US.