Europe can perhaps look forward to a winter with stable energy supplies following talks between Russia and Ukraine.
Kiev’s dire economy has seen it struggle to pay for agreed gas deliveries, increasing chances of disruption to Europe. But Russia’s Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, eased fears by announcing that Moscow has agreed to waive any penalties. “Ukraine isn’t raising its gas transit prices and we’ve reduced by prices to Europe by 20 percent. But next year there won’t be any discount and we won’t have any privileges on the transit price,” he said. Russian supplies piped across Ukraine provide Europe with a fifth of its gas. The row over gas prices and transit fees disrupted supplies to Europe for two weeks in January this year leaving millions of people without heating. Putin and Ukraine’s Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko brokered the deal to end the dispute; but since then, the deal itself has become the subject of infighting between Tymoshenko and her rival, President Viktor Yushchenko ahead January’s presidential election.