The European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has telephoned the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to voice his disappointment over the latest twist in the gas crisis. But in talks between a senior Gazprom official and Putin, both said they could not understand why supplies were not getting through to Europe.
Brussels got involved in the row when some 18 European countries started to be affected. Russia cut off suplies to Ukraine because of what it said were unpaid bills and then accused Ukraine of siphoning off the gas destined for Europe. Kiev denied the claims. But who is really to blame for the latest blockage? A European Commission spokeswoman said: “We are not at this stage jumping to conclusions as to why this is the case. But this situation is obviously very serious and needs to improve rapidly.” One report from Ukraine claims the Russian gas was sent via pipelines used for its domestic supplies, and it was impossible to reroute it without serious local cuts. The European Commission’s energy spokesman said: “The situation today is totally unacceptable and we hope that after talks at the highest level, we will have a clearer picture about what’s going on.” EU observers are on the ground in the Ukraine, but Brussels has complained about a lack of complete access to all of the key sites.