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Russia Turns Off Ukraine’s Gas Supply

Published: June 18, 2014 (Issue # 1816)



  • Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller leaves the negotiations with the Ukrainian government in Kiev on Monday.
    Photo: Sergei Chuzakov / AP

MOSCOW — Russia’s Gazprom on Monday cut off gas supplies to Ukraine and moved its neighbor to a system of prepayment until Kiev’s “indisputable” debt for previous deliveries is settled.

After three rounds of intense talks in recent weeks the two sides failed to come to an agreement on the price of gas already delivered and, therefore, on Ukraine’s total debt to Russia. They also failed to agree on the terms governing Ukraine’s future gas purchases under the new prepayment system.

“The logic of the Ukrainian government is to give us low prices, the ones we have with our Customs Union partners. If not, [Ukraine] will not pay debts and will get your gas for free,” Gazprom’s head Alexei Miller said Monday at a news conference in Moscow.

The protracted spat appeared to have caused Miller no small amount of irritation, as he spoke slowly and paused for long periods between words at the conference. At one point he rebuffed a journalist who used an English word while posing a question in Russian.

“What language do we speak here?” he asked the journalist.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said at the same news conference that no further negotiations with the Ukrainian side are planned due to “the unconstructive position of the Ukrainian government.”

Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said Monday morning that Russia’s official position on the gas dispute with Ukraine will be defined after Miller and Novak meet with President Vladimir Putin. No such meeting was reported to have taken place at the time of publication.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk reacted sharply to Russia’s decision, saying during a government meeting on Monday that it represented “part of a general plan by Russia to destroy Ukraine.”

“This is another stage of Russia’s aggression against the Ukrainian state and its independence. We will not subsidize Russia’s Gazprom. Ukrainians will not pull $5 billion out of their pockets every year so that Russia can buy arms, tanks and planes and bomb Ukrainian territory,” he said.

Both Ukraine and Russia said Monday that they would file lawsuits against each other over their gas supplies grievances at the Stockholm international commercial arbitration court.

While Gazprom insists that Ukraine’s debt stands at $4.46 billion, the Ukrainian government claims that it will only pay a sum calculated on the basis of a discounted price of $268.5 per 1,000 cubic meters. This price was offered last December to Ukraine’s then-President Viktor Yanukovych after he opted out of an economic and political alliance with the European Union that sparked mass protests in central Kiev.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Tuesday, Jan. 27


Observe the 71st anniversary of the end of the Siege of Leningrad on Palace Square with a free concert at 7 p.m. Listen to WWII-era songs and the poetry of Olga Bergholz while you peruse outdoor exhibitions dedicated to life during wartime. The event is capped off by a fireworks display at 9 p.m.



Stop by the Lexica School of Foreign Languages at 73 Ligovsky Prospekt from now until Friday for a free English lesson. The classes start at 7 p.m. and cover all levels, from Beginner to Advanced. Registration by telephone on 7641692 and a desire to improve your skills are the only prerequisites.



Wednesday, Jan. 28



Feel like becoming a publishing mogul? Stop by the Freedom anti-cafe at 7 Ulitsa Kazanskaya today at 8 p.m. where Simferopol, Crimea-based founder and chief editor of the Holst online magazine will talk about creating an internet magaine, including what stories to cover, how find an audience and build a team, where to find inspiration and how to stand out from the crowd. Admission is the normal price of the anti-café — 2 rubles per minute, which includes tea and snacks.



Learn everything you always wanted to know about wine, and perhaps a bit more, at the Le Nez du Vin seminar for wine lovers. Held at the WineJet Sommelier School, 100 Bolshoy Prospekt Petrograd Side, at 7:30 p.m., the event will cover wine production, the basics of wine tasting, the concept of terroir and the various countries where wine is produced. Tickets are 750 rubles and include a wine tasting. Register by calling +7 921 744 6264.



Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekov's book will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.





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