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Russian-Ukrainian gas

November 20, 2009

Russia and Ukraine are reaching a new agreement on the provision of gas to Europe. Past problems between the two nations have chilled relations between Brussels and Moscow.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, left, and Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko shake hands during their meeting in Yalta, Ukraine, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2009
The deal should relieve many Europeans who went without gas last JanuaryImage: picture-alliance/ dpa/ DW Montage

Russia and Ukraine agreed to a compromise on existing gas agreements in the southern Ukrainian city of Yalta on Thursday. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko changed elements of the agreement to relieve some of the pressure placed on Ukraine to meet monthly payments on gas.

Putin announced that the talks provided a guarantee of stable energy supplies for Europe, news that the EU will doubtless be relieved to hear. One fifth of Europe's gas is piped across Ukraine from Russia.

"We sincerely expect that all agreements reached earlier will be implemented and from our side we guarantee full implementation," Putin said.

Last January European homes were left out in the cold after Russia halted gas supplies through Ukraine for two weeks due to disputes over pricing.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko
Putin and Tymoshenko agreed to relieve some of the pressure placed on UkraineImage: picture-alliance/ dpa

Although that dispute was settled, tensions have risen again recently because of political infighting in the Ukraine as the former Soviet republic approaches a presidential election in January.

Compromise between Kyiv and Moscow

As a condition of the old agreement, Ukraine was required to purchase 52 billion cubic meters of Russian gas next year but may need only 27 billion cubic meters. Tymoshenko acknowledged that meeting the monthly payments had been a struggle due to pressure from the economic crisis.

"Gazprom and Naftogaz will agree on new volumes," Putin said, referring to the two countries' energy firms.

Russia promised to lower the required volume of gas purchased by the Ukraine without levying fines for using a lower volume than that set out in current contracts. At the same time, Putin said Russia agreed to boost the tariff paid to Ukraine for the transit of the gas by 60 percent.

Editor: Andreas Illmer