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Gas supplies resumed

14 January 2009

Russian Gas supplies to Europe, via Ukraine, were cut early on Wednesday 7th January as a consequence of Russia's argument with Ukraine over an unpaid bill. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin claims that the blame resides with Ukraine and not Russia following the shortage.

Gas supplies resumed
Gas supplies resumed

Ukraine has denied stealing the gas from Russia, instead blaming the disruption in Europe's gas supply on technical problems.

Countries including the Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece and Hungary have all seen their supplies of Russian gas totally cease, with many other European countries claiming that they now receive a fraction of their usual supply from Russia. Gazprom has said that only 40 cu m of gas is getting through to Europe instead of 220 cu m.

Talks between the Ukraine's Naftogaz and Russia 's Gazprom took place on the 8th January in Moscow in a bid to restore the flow of gas in a time when temperatures across Europe have plunged. However, differences with Ukraine over debts and pricing have not been resolved. There is a total lack of trust between the two countries.

The EU gets a quarter of its gas supplies from Russia, more than 15 countries across central Europe have been hit by the shutdown of Russian supplies. Serbia and Bosnia-Hercegovina are among the worst hit as many homes rely on heating stations that only run on gas. Following, hundreds of thousands being without gas since Gazprom cut supplies nearly a week ago the Russian state energy company has given the order for the supply of gas recommence if Russian and EU observers were allowed to monitor their transit through Ukraine. The move was designed to calm Russian fears that Ukraine was siphoning off gas for its own use.

Russia said gas started flowing from the Russian pumping station at Sudzha at 1030 local time (0730 GMT) on Tuesday. It is expected that supplies will return to their normal levels by 15th January 2009.
The dispute is likely to arise again however, as there is still disagreement over how much Ukraine should pay Russia for its gas. Russia currently supplies the EU with a quarter of its gas, 80% of which passes through the Ukraine.

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