Russian Gas Again Flows to Europe Through Ukraine

Supplies had been cut for 2 weeks amid political squabbles
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jan 20, 2009 1:25 PM CST
Ukraine's PM, left, the head of Ukrainian state energy firm Naftogaz, right, and Russia's Gazprom gas firm chief in Moscow, Jan. 19, 2009, shortly after the signing of a gas deal.   (AP Photo/Aleksandr Prokopenko)
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(Newser) – Gas is again flowing from Russia to Ukraine, a major gas gateway for Europe, after disputes between the two countries shut down supplies for two weeks, Reuters reports. Leaders couldn’t agree on a 2009 gas contract amid political tensions over Ukraine’s wish to join NATO; 20 European countries were affected by the cutoff. Now, Hungary and Slovakia say they’re getting a supply, but the rest of Europe may not benefit until tomorrow.

The new contract has Ukraine paying double what it paid last year for gas, fueling tensions within Ukraine. The far-reaching effect of local discord has reflected poorly on Ukraine and Russia. “This bilateral dispute has harmed the confidence placed in the two countries,” said the Czech EU presidency. Russia provides about a quarter of Europe’s gas, 80% of which travels through Ukraine.