European concern has resurfaced over Russia’s influence on neighbours through its energy resources. As Moscow’s top diplomat met for talks with EU officials in Brussels, the European Commission urged Russia to measure the pace at which it plans to more than double gas prices for Georgia from next year.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was asked during a press conference the best course for Tbilisi to take. He said: “What does Georgia have to do to Russia? I hope nothing. We have enough from Georgia, and I do believe that it is not doing anything for anybody but it’s coming back to normal civilized relationship.”
A spokesman at Russian utility giant Gazprom declined to comment on allegations the price hike proposal was political. Tbilisi is in its worst crisis with Moscow in years, over a row rooted in Georgia’s pro-Western policies and a fight for influence over separatist regions. Lavrov’s visit was to prepare for a regular EU-Russia summit in three weeks time. Another meeting is set for next Wednesday, on its agenda: human rights.