Angering Moscow, Europe has agreed to help Ukraine modernise its gas infrastructure for carrying Russian supplies to the European Union. At an energy security conference in Brussels, EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said: “We can not allow our citizens to experience fuel shortages in the depths of winter again.”
Ukraine, the European Commission and three international banks signed a pledge to cooperate through investment. Ukraine presented a multi-billion-euro plan to boost its gas delivery network’s capacity. About a fifth of Europe’s gas comes from Russia via Ukraine, and the EU has become increasingly uneasy about that extent of dependence. Kiev said new operations would provide fair and transparent tariffs for gas transport. It described the proposal as a cheaper way of increasing EU gas imports than building long distance gas pipelines such as Nabucco from the Caspian region. Meanwhile, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin threatened to review ties with the EU if Russian interests were ignored.