No solution yet to gas crisis: Russia’s Medvedev

MOSCOW - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Saturday that there were “still no results” from efforts to end the dispute crippling gas supplies to Europe.

By (Retuers)

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Sat 17 Jan 2009, 9:16 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 4:24 AM

Medvedev made his comments as he opened a Kremlin meeting of nations involved in the dispute. Russia invited heads of government of all countries buying or transporting its gas but most stayed away.

“Unfortunately, and I would like to underline this, all the efforts have so far yielded no results,” Medvedev said. “And people who live in many European countries still remain without heat.”

The Russian leader said Moscow would do “everything it could” to resolve the gas crisis.

Earlier, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin briefly met Ukraine’s Yulia Tymoshenko, shaking her hand before the pair headed to the Kremlin.

“The two prime ministers met in the White House (seat of Russian government) and then Prime Minister Putin suggested they go directly the Kremlin conference,” said Putin’s chief spokesman, Dmitry Peskov.

“But they are going to come back for talks later.”

The EU and its Czech rotating presidency were sending ministerial-level representatives to the Kremlin meeting.

It appeared that the Czechs had mostly succeeded in convincing individual EU member states not to attend, so that the bloc spoke with one voice.

Apart from the EU and the Czech Republic, only EU member Slovakia plus Belarus, Bosnia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Moldova, Croatia, Armenia, Serbia and Turkey were sending envoys to Moscow, according to a list of participants seen by Reuters.

Russia cut off gas supplies to Ukraine on Jan. 1 after Kiev refused to agree a big price rise. Six days later, it stopped sending gas for export through Ukraine, accusing Kiev of stealing exports destined for Europe.

The row has angered the European Union, which gets about a fifth of its gas from pipelines that cross Ukraine, and left many countries in eastern and southern Europe with no supplies in the depths of winter.

Putin said on Friday after talks in Germany that Moscow was nearing a deal to restart gas deliveries to European customers.

“We are approaching interesting agreements which could lead to a solution,” Putin said after meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Friday.

But amid bitter domestic rivalry between Tymoshenko and President Viktor Yushchenko, it was unclear what mandate she had from Kiev to secure a deal.

The dispute, one of the worst disruptions in the history of Russian gas supplies to Europe, has raised doubts over Russia’s reputation as a reliable energy supplier and added to political divisions in Ukraine.

The row takes place against a backdrop of strained political ties between Moscow and Kiev. Russia has been angered by Yushchenko’s aspiration to join NATO and by Kiev’s support for Tbilisi during the Russian-Georgian war in August.


The gas row with Russia has sharpened a dispute between Tymoshenko and Yushchenko ahead of the first Ukrainian presidential election since the 2004 Orange Revolution. The election is expected in 12 months.

Russia’s state-controlled gas behemoth, Gazprom, has said Ukraine should pay European-level prices of $450 per 1,000 cubic metres (tcm) of gas for 2009, up from $179.5 per tcm in 2008.

But Ukraine, heading into the worst recession for a decade, has said it can only afford $201 per tcm. Ukraine also wants an increase in the fees it gets from Russia for the transit of gas to Europe if the price of gas is raised.

Tymoshenko set conditions for the weekend talks, refusing to accept intermediaries in gas deals and ruling out any sell-off of Ukraine’s pipelines. Putin and Tymoshenko in October agreed to do away with intermediaries in the gas trade.

Tymoshenko, a former gas trader, also demanded that Ukraine speak with one voice in the negotiations.

“Simply speaking—I need two things: Don’t throw a spoke in the wheel and don’t stab any backs,” she said.

The row has focused minds in Europe about the need to find new routes for gas but experts say any solution would take years to build.

More news from