Fears Of New Russia-Ukraine Gas Dispute On The Rise
KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine is dismissing Russian claims that it is having trouble paying its gas bill despite a shortage of IMF funds and cold temperatures.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko denied accusations on Saturday by Russian gas exporter Gazprom that the country would be unable to pay its energy bills.
"We - Ukraine - are clearly and confidently managing our financial life during the crisis," she said, according to the Russian news agency Interfax.
Gazprom had asserted that Ukraine had further cut back its gas purchases in the middle of December, leading chief executive Alexei Miller to assume that the nation was facing fiscal difficulties.
"We assess the situation with payments for Russian natural gas deliveries in December as very alarming," Miller told state television.
"In the middle of December, there was a trend of a reduction of gas off-take which confirms that Ukraine is facing serious difficulties with gas payments," he said.
Politics of energy
The International Monetary Fund had extended a 16.4-billion-dollar credit in 2008 to assist Kyiv with the global financial crisis.
But the fund is now withholding the next payment due to worries about political infighting in the run-up to the presidential election.
Ukraine has a January 11 deadline to make payments on its supply of gas, according to Gazprom. In November Tymonshenko and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin met and vowed to prevent a repeat of the gas shortages of 2006 and early 2009 across Europe.
The European Union, which receives one-fifth of its gas from Russia, had met with Ukrainian government officials earlier in December to assuage the fears of another gas crisis.
Source: Deutsche Welle