Barely back in office, Ukraine’s prime minister-designate has reignited an argument with Russia over gas prices. Yulia Tymoshenko says she wants to review all gas contracts with her country’s powerful and energy-rich neighbour. A dispute over prices in the winter led to supply interruptions in Ukraine and elsewhere.
A spokesman for Gazprom, the Russian energy giant, said Tymoshenko’s statement would send alarm bells ringing across Europe. “Part of the agreement with Ukraine signed in January includes a transit deal whereby Ukraine transports Russian gas to Europe. We’re on the road to a new gas crisis,” he said. The row was settled when Kiev agreed to pay a nearly twofold increase in prices. Gazprom says it wants to raise tariffs again this year. Western Europe, which receives up to 80 percent of its gas from Russia through pipelines running across Ukraine, is watching developments warily.