Mon, May 20 2013
After Russia announced that it was cutting off gas supplies to Ukraine on January 1 2009 due to unresolved contract issues, Ukraine fired back by refusing to allow transport through its territory of all negotiated quantities of gas directed to Gazprom's European customers, Bulgarian news agency BTA reported on January 2, citing Russian news agency ITAR-TASS and AFP.
Sergei Kupriyanov, a spokesperson for Russia's gas company Gazprom, said that Ukraine did not agree to the requested transit of 303 million cubic metres, but instead settled for 296 million. Kupriyanov also said that supplies to all European customers had been increased through alternative routes, including through Belarus, BTA reported. Consumers in Austria, Romania, Germany and France have stated that the Russian cut-off has not resulted in supply decrease.
Gazprom also accused Ukraine of stealing gas from Russia, some 21 million cubic metres every 24 hours. It is defense, Naftogaz, the Ukrainian state-run company, said that it did not steal, but rather set aside part of the transit gas because of technical reasons.
In the meantime, Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko sought the assistance of the European Union as a mediator in the dispute.
Though closely following the dispute, the EU, at the moment, was not intending to side with any of the parties, and it was planning to initiate action only if the conflict disrupted supplies to Gazprom's European clients, ITAR-TASS quoted a spokesperson from Prague as saying (the Czech Republic holds the EU presidency for 2009).
As far as gas supplies to Bulgaria were concerned, Dimitar Gogov, executive director of Bulgargaz, said that none of the company's business partners had yet informed of arising supply problems, Focus reported.
He indicated, however, that the situation might change despite the fact that Bulgaria did not deal directly with Ukraine. Gas supplies reach Bulgaria from the Romanian-Ukrainian border, where contracted suppliers were facilitating the transportation. Gogov said, as quoted by Focus, that he would not want to predict what could happen, but at the moment, Bulgaria had no gas supply problems.
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