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Europe running out of gas
Several European countries have had their deliveries of gas through Ukraine cut off, a situation which the EU describes as "unacceptable". Gazprom says Ukraine's energy company has shut off a number of pipelines. Meanwhile, the head of Naftogaz has announced he is ready to resume negotiations
Russians mock the gas-dependence of Europe and Ukraine
"Should Ukraine will soon join NATO, we just will cut gas for Ukraine!
And in the night we`ll cut gaz to Europe!
So that we could cut the gas for everebody, just in case!" Thіs is words from "comic" song performed by Academic Ensemble of Moscow Military District. The subs in this video are literal translation of comedy broadcasted on Russian Ren-TV on the 2th of January 2009.
The EU is sending a "fact-finding" mission to Ukraine to see if its financial troubles could lead to a new gas crisis. But it is wary of tackling deeper problems of politics and corruption in the eastern gas trade, which also threaten EU energy security.
Mr Putin and Ukraine Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko are at the same time trying to strong-arm Ukraine gas tycoon Dmitry Firtash, in developments which highlight the links between politics, gas and organised crime in the region.
The gas shake-up may have begun back in May 2008 with Moscow's arrest on tax fraud charges of alleged mafia boss Semion Mogilevich.
Mr Mogilevich is connected to big names in the gas trade.
The European Commission has so far turned a deaf ear. In March, EU officials said they were "closely monitoring" Naftogaz' seizure of RUE's gas - "closely monitoring" is a typical commission "holding statement" when it does not have a real position.
"The European Commission has failed to recognise the danger these companies [RUE, RosGas or other alleged Gazprom offshoots] present to the energy security of the EU and has not made any attempt to convince member states to investigate the role these companies play in the supply chain," Jamestown's Mr Kupchinsky said.
December 31, 2009
MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Russian gas will move via Ukraine without interruption this New Year as the ex-Soviet states have a 10-year supply deal in place, Russia's monopoly gas exporter said today, easing fears in Europe of a repeat gas war.
"We have signed, in our opinion, a good contract with Naftogaz Ukraine. Therefore we can mark this New Year at home," Sergei Kupriyanov said in a radio interview on New Year's Eve.
There is still a risk, however, that supplies could be disrupted should Ukraine fail to keep up monthly payments. The next test will come on January 11, by when Naftogaz is due to pay for December supplies of Russian gas.
Tymoshenko has admitted Ukraine has had difficulty meeting monthly payments, although the country has so far paid on schedule. Low temperatures could push Ukraine's December bill to nearly $1 billion from the $770 million paid for November.
YALTA, October 2 (Itar-Tass) - Ukraine has not asked the Russian government for aid to settling Naftogaz’s debt to Switzerland’s trader RosUkrEnergo, Russian Vice-Prime Minister and Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said on Saturday.
Commenting on a statement by IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Kudrin said, “This is Ukraine’s obligation. It is not related to Russia.”
The Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce on June 8 obliged the national joint stock company Naftogaz Ukraine to return 11 billion cubic meters of gas to Switzerland-registered RosUkrEnergo (RUE) and to give it 1.1 billion cubic meters of gas as compensation, according to the Centragas company, which is a shareholder of RosUkrEnergo
RosUkrEnergo was set up in the summer of 2004 by Gazprom and Centragas Holding AG on parity beginnings. Centragas Holding is owned by Ukrainian businessmen Dmitry Firtash (90 percent) and Ivan Fursin (10 percent). RosUkrEnergo was the monopoly gas-supplier to Ukraine in 2006-2008
Semyon Mogilevich, one of FBI's most wanted people, identified as real power behind billionaire owner of Ukrainian-based RUE
The Russians arrested Mogilevich in 2008 over tax evasion at a cosmetics chain. But in 2009 he was mysteriously released.
"He [Firtash] acknowledged ties to Russian organized crime figure Semyon Mogilevich, stating he had needed Mogilevich's approval to get into business in the first place," Taylor wrote in a secret memo dedicated to his meeting with Firtash, according to WikiLeaks.
The U.S. says Mogilevich is one of the world's top mafia bosses, accusing him of creating eastern Europe's most powerful crime group in the 1990s. He is on the list of the FBI's ten most wanted fugitives