EU Ducks Russian Calls for Gas Talks as Ukraine’s Bill Mounts

Russia Vows to Keep Europe Supplied Even if Ukraine Gets Cut Off

Russian officials say they have received no response from the European Union after an appeal by President Vladimir Putin for emergency talks on natural gas supply to the continent.

Putin has reassured Europe that Russia will do everything it can to keep natural gas flowing to the EU even if Ukraine’s own supplies get cut off for non-payment of their ever-mounting bill.

Russia’s ability to keep the gas coming isn’t necessarily guaranteed, however, as the pipelines to Europe go through Ukraine, and officials concede there is a risk that if and when Ukraine stops getting gas from Russia they might start siphoning it out of the EU-bound pipeline.

Ukraine is courting the EU to sell gas to them, and while EU officials have promised some limited sales at a discount as “aid” to the new government, Ukraine’s long history of not paying for its gas is likely to make it hard to come up with alternative suppliers.

The Obama Administration has angrily condemned Russia for proposing that Ukraine pay for all future gas deliveries in advance, calling the effort to ensure they get paid for a change “coercion.”

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.