Fri, January 16, 2009
World > Europe > Russia-Ukraine gas row

Putin proposes EU pay to secure gas transit via Ukraine

2009-01-15 21:34:10 GMT2009-01-16 05:34:10 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (L-R), President Dmitry Medvedev and Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko meet European prime ministers in Barvikha outside Moscow January 14, 2009. European Union nations and firms may sue Russia and Ukraine unless the two countries quickly restore gas supplies to the bloc, the European Commission's president said on Wednesday. Russia met prime ministers Robert Fico of Slovakia, Zinaida Greceanii of Moldova and Sergei Stanishev of Bulgaria.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev (L) listens to his Ukrainian counterpart Yulia Tymoshenko in Kiev late January 14, 2009. European states saw little prospect of renewed gas supplies from Russia on Thursday, with Moscow and Kiev bickering over the venue of a summit called to help resolve the stand-off. Picture taken January 14, 2009.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

MOSCOW, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- The European Union (EU) should set up a consortium to purchase from Russia the gas Ukraine says needed to resume supplies to Europe, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin proposed on Thursday.

"We are proposing that our European partners share the risks and set up an international consortium that could buy from (Russian gas monopoly) Gazprom the necessary amount of gas and immediately send it to Ukraine to secure gas transit to Europe," Putin was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying in a meeting with the head of Italian energy company ENI.

ENI chief Paolo Scaroni described Putin's proposal as "constructive."

During a telephone conversation with Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko earlier Thursday, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev offered to transfer "technical gas" to Ukraine on behalf of a EU consortium to resume gas deliveries to Europe.

Also on Thursday, Gazprom said the Ukrainian energy giant Naftogaz was technically able to unblock Russian gas transit to Europe but lacked permission from Kiev to do so.

Russia cut off gas supplies via Ukraine to Europe on Jan. 7, one week after it halted pumping gas to Ukraine over a pricing dispute.

Gazprom reopened its pipelines to Europe on Tuesday morning under a three-way agreement signed by the EU, Ukraine and Russia, but no gas reached Europe.

Russia accused Ukraine of blocking the gas flow and the EU also admitted that Ukraine had held up the flow to Europe, while Ukraine argued that Russia's choice of the gas route was technically "unacceptable." A summit is to be held in Moscow on Saturday in a bid to end the current gas dispute.

As much as a quarter of natural gas consumed in Europe is imported from Russia, and 80 percent of it is shipped via Ukraine.

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