Europe is facing the prospect of winter gas shortages after Ukraine and Russian energy giant Gazprom failed to a reach a long term deal on prices. In talks the two sides agreed not to raise the price for three months but Gazprom chief Alexei Miller’s response to recent statements from Ukraine illustrated how difficult finding a solution will be. He spoke of a ‘new gas conflict’ on the horizon.
Yulia Tymoshenko, who is set to become Ukraine’s new prime minister, said recently an earlier deal with Gazprom would have to be renegotiated. That doubled the price Kiev had previously paid for Russian gas and came after a row in January in which Gazprom briefly cut supplies to Ukraine. Parts of western Europe were also affected.
Ukraine’s next step will not be known until a protest by Tymoshenko’s opponents, which is preventing parliament from installing her as prime minister, is resolved. The situation is further complicated by concerns over supplies from Turkmenistan, whose gas Russia re-exports with its own to Ukraine and beyond.
The country has said it will stop sending gas to Russia from September after failing to secure a price rise of its own. More talks are expected but until a deal is reached Europe is facing the possibility of a long winter of discontent.