Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Russia 'still open' to Ukraine gas solution - Putin

16 May 2014, 10:36

Moscow - President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Russia is "still open" to talks on Ukraine's gas debt, accusing the EU of failing to make specific proposals to help prevent a cut-off of supplies from next month.

In an open letter to European leaders, Putin also called on Brussels to "more actively engage" in finding ways to stabilise crisis-hit Ukraine's economy.

"Unfortunately, we have to say that we have not received any specific proposals from our partners as to how to stabilise the situation," Putin said in the letter released by the Kremlin.

He said Russia was "forced" to threaten to cut off gas supplies from June 3 after switching to up-front payments because Ukraine has amassed a gas debt of $3.5bn.

"The Russian Federation is still open to continue consultations and work together with European countries in order to normalise the situation," Putin said.

"We also hope that the European Commission will more actively engage in dialogue in order to work out specific and fair solutions that will help stabilise the Ukrainian economy."

Energy 'not a political weapon'

Nearly 15% of all gas consumed in Europe is delivered from Russia via Ukraine and Brussels fears that a cut-off could lead to disruptions in supplies to the EU.

In response, the European Commission called Putin's claims "unfounded" and said Brussels had sought talks for a "long time".

"So far some progress has been made, and Russia and Ukraine must now build on that, notably regarding the definition of the gas price," said Commission spokesperson, Pia Ahrenkilde-Hansen.

"Let me reiterate the EU's clear expectation that all sides involved remain reliable, responsible supply and transit partners - in their very own interest. Energy should not be used a as political weapon."

Ukraine has refused to cover its obligations in protest over Moscow's decision to nearly double the price it charges Kiev for gas imports following the February overthrow of its Kremlin-backed regime.

The danger for EU nations is that Ukraine - its state coffers effectively empty and almost completely reliant on $17bn promised by the International Monetary Fund - will not cover its debt and instead start taking the gas Russia had earmarked for its European clients.

The nation of 46 million began dipping into supplies meant for Europe when it was cut off from Russian gas during previous price disputes in 2006 and 2009.

Putin pointed out that Russian gas giant Gazprom "has not received a single payment... despite the fact that Ukraine has received the first tranche of an IMF loan to the amount of $3.2bn".

In Brussels on Tuesday, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said his government would take Russia to court unless it agreed to a gas supply contract based on market prices.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...