With most of Europe being starved of Russian gas, the EU is pressing for a rapid solution to end the crisis. It has offered to send observers to the Ukraine Russian border to resolve the dispute. Moscow and Kiev have signalled their agreement, with leaders from Ukraine’s Naftogas and Russia’s Gazprom also due to meet in Brussels tomorrow. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is reported to have ordered a shut down in supplies accusing Ukraine of stealing gas, something it denies.
The row has resulted in several European countries being severely hit, with the flow being affected as far west as France. The dispute also, threatens a breakdown in relations between Brussels and Moscow. European Union Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said: ‘‘If this transit does not go as normal we will have a real problem and we will have to take some conclusions, clarifying that we’ll no longer consider the supply of gas from Russia through Ukraine as a credible supply. And we will have to be clear about that.’‘ Russia stopped shipping gas to Ukraine on New Year’s day after failing to reach agreement over unpaid bills and the price for 2009. Despite much of Europe being deprived of heating as it experiences sub-zero conditions, Russia and Ukraine continue to blame each other.