Its gas deliveries to other European customers are now back to normal, but Russia continues to trade insults with former ally Ukraine over who was to blame for disruption to supply across the continent. With a row over pricing unresolved, the taps remain turned off as far as Kiev is concerned. Ukrainian energy officials are said to be in Moscow for talks to end the crisis, alongside a delegation from Moldova which says its supplies were cut for similar reasons.
Meanwhile, the Russian state monopoly Gazprom has increased the amount of gas it pumps through Ukraine to ensure its main clients in Europe are not affected by the dispute.The company continues to accuse its neighbour of helping itself to supplies destined for other customers. A Gazprom spokesman said that the security of Europe’s energy supply is important to the firm and that is why the decision was taken to “compensate for the gas volumes stolen by Ukraine.”He added: “This situation cannot continue forever.” Faced with demands for a more than four-fold increase in prices, Ukraine’s Western-leaning government complains Russia is using its control over energy resources as a political weapon – something Moscow denies.Officials from Ukraine’s state Naftogaz company say gas is not being stolen. However, the country has said that under existing agreements, as payment for transit, a share of the supplies will be taken if temperatures fall below -3 degrees celcius. With the gulf still huge between the two nations, international efforts are now being stepped up to try to break the deadlock.