Cold War Ends: Russia, Ukraine Settle Gas Dispute

Both sides agree to international inspectors monitoring exports
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 11, 2009 12:21 PM CST
Jordanka Dimitrichkova, 86, who lives alone in the Bulgarian capital Sofia, brings in wood with the aid of her walking stick as she tries to stay warm by a wood-burning stove, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2009.    (AP Photo/Petar Petrov)
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(Newser) – Russia and Ukraine have settled their feisty gas dispute, allowing fuel supplies to start flowing to shivering European nations “within hours,” the Wall Street Journal reports. Both sides agreed to international teams monitoring the pipeline system in Ukraine, which Russia accuses of stealing EU gas for its own use. About 80% of the EU’s Russian gas is channeled through Ukraine.

“The longer they stay, the better it is for us, Ukraine, and European consumers,” said Russian PM Vladimir Putin. Ukraine will now resume funneling Russian gas to the EU, but remains locked in a price dispute over its own domestic consumption. The rift has particularly devastated Hungary, Bulgaria, and Slovakia, as wintry temps forced schools and factories to close.